Heidi McCollum wins 5th Judicial District primary, likely to become next DA
EAGLE — After seven years serving as the No. 2 prosecutor in the sprawling Fifth Judicial District, Heidi McCollum is set to become the region’s next district attorney.
Preliminary results showed McCollum handily winning Tuesday’s Democratic primary against Braden Angel, a former deputy DA in the district.
As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, McCollum had 67% of the vote with 9,832 votes in the district that encompasses Clear Creek, Eagle, Summit and Lake counties. McCollum led the vote in all four counties. In Eagle County, where McCollum and Angel both reside, McCollum had 67% of the vote. She held 66% of the vote in Summit.
“I appreciate the support of everyone in the Fifth Judicial District,” McCollum said late Tuesday. “I’ve always tried to do the right thing for the people involved in any given case, whether that’s for the victim, for the defendant or for the community. And I will continue to always try to treat every case individually taking into account the needs of everyone involved and ultimately doing what’s best for the community.”
McCollum is likely to become the fourth acting female district attorney in the state.
“I never thought of myself as a trailblazer, per se, but I’m proud to be able to step into the position of being able to run in a general election as a female district attorney,” she said. “I’m very honored.”
Both candidates ran campaigns that emphasized restorative justice and prioritized treatment options over jail in communities where behavioral health and addiction issues are prevalent. Both also stressed outreach to under-represented communities like Eagle and Summit counties’ Latino populations.
McCollum, 49, has spent most of her life in Eagle County. She’s a graduate of Eagle Valley High School who went to Mesa State College before attending law school at Chapman University in California.
She interned at the Fifth Judicial District after school and went on to work with private firms in the area in everything from family law, criminal defense, estate planning and more. She stepped aside from law in 2006 to run a gymnastics center in Glenwood Springs and returned to private practice in 2011 before signing on as assistant district attorney in 2013 under Bruce Brown, who is term-limited.
During that time, she has prosecuted some of Eagle County’s most high-profile cases, including the cases of Richard Miller and Allison Marcus, the couple convicted of starting the massive Lake Christine Fire.
She was endorsed by Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons, who said McCollum had worked tirelessly “to form and strengthen working relationships with community partners including law enforcement agencies, our district’s victim advocacy organizations, school districts and educators, community leaders and residents.”
McCollum looks all but certain to be the next DA since no Republican entered the field for the primary and the party cannot appoint one for the general election. A write-in candidate or an independent candidate still could emerge before the general election in November.
Angel, 39, received an endorsement from Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek earlier this week but failed to win over a majority of voters. Among other things, he’d said create a more diverse outfit of prosecutors and reduce turnover in the office.
Angel did not return calls for comment as of press time.
“Ultimately one of the things this office requires is someone who is willing to do every ounce of hard work it takes,” McCollum said in an interview with the Summit Daily News in June. “At the end of the day, nobody is going to be able to outwork me. The other prosecutors that I see on a daily basis are some of the hardest-working individuals I have ever known, and I’ll work with them through long days and coming in on the weekends to continue to get this job done. That’s what it takes, that’s what we’ve been doing, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
This story is from VailDaily.com.
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