Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Law & Order Now Tops Police Reform as Public Concern

Joseph and WalshLeora Joseph and Jon Walsh | Photo Alex Edwards, Denver Gazette

A demand for more security in schools, downtown streets, and neighborhoods has intensified since the end of the pandemic. District attorney contests today tend to be battles between post-George Floyd police and legal reforms and newer, intense demand for law and order to stop a surge in high profile snatch and grabs, shootings, assaults, carjackings, and break-ins. And the reformers are on the defensive with even some DAs being recalled.

In Denver’s primary on June 25 for retiring DA Beth McCann’s open seat, both candidates claim to be tough on crime, so money, endorsements, and ability to attract voters attention in a likely modest summer primary vote will be important.

John Walsh, former Colorado US Attorney, is running against Leora Joseph, the director of the Colorado Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health. Walsh has the advantage in money ($355,000 to $280,000) and endorsements from a host of former Denver DAs (including the retiring incumbent), mayors and both US Senators. Joseph has the police and fire fighters’ unions.

In describing the race, Denver Gazette reporter Carol McKinley wrote:

“The money helps turn out the vote,” said longtime Colorado pollster and commentator Floyd Ciruli, who predicted that the race would see “a pretty modest turnout” in Denver’s primary election.

“Both Walsh and Joseph have positioned themselves as law and order candidates, which Ciruli said is an important issue to Denver voters this year.

“You saw it in Denver related to the school district election, when voters were very concerned about violence in the schools. You saw it in the mayor’s election, when the public wanted to know the candidates’ positions with police and with the homeless,” the pollster said.

“So, we’ve had two major elections in which crime and the public’s security were big issues and it’s likely to be that again for the Denver District Attorney race,” Ciruli said.

“This year’s race promises to be much closer, Ciruli said that both candidates “have elements of law and order. My sense is that this is important in this political atmosphere.”

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