Attorney General's Democratic primary pits two heavy hitters - Albuquerque Journal

Attorney General’s Democratic primary pits two heavy hitters

State Auditor Brian Colón, left, and 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Editor’s note: The Journal today profiles the two Democrats running for state attorney general in the June 7 primary election as part of a ongoing series examining contested statewide races.

Both candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for the state attorney general are formidable elected officials currently holding high-powered jobs. And both are lawyers, as required by the state Constitution.

But there’s a distinct contrast in styles, personalities and experience.

Brian Colón has practiced civil law, and pushed for transparency and accountability in government since his election as State Auditor in 2017. A former state Democratic Party chief and longtime community fundraiser, he touts his ability to build relationships and bring people together.

Raúl Torrez is an outspoken two-term criminal prosecutor overseeing the state’s largest district attorney’s office, who most recently has led a fight to fix what he calls New Mexico’s “broken” criminal justice system. He touts his independence and says he doesn’t mind “ruffling feathers” along the way.

The Attorney General’s Office has primary authority for enforcement of consumer protection and antitrust laws, prosecution of criminal appeals and some complex white-collar crimes, training and certifying peace officers, and most natural resources and environmental matters, according to the current AG’s office.

Departing Attorney General Hector Balderas, who is term-limited, also has taken the lead on prosecuting public corruption involving state officials and investigating violations of the state’s open records law – two other responsibilities typically left to the AG’s office.

But this year, crime fighting, particularly violent crime, has framed the political debate in the AG race.

Rising crime is a hot button issue in political campaigns across the country, and the two Democrats running in the June 7 primary say they believe the state’s top attorney can have an impact.

Torrez points out he’s a career prosecutor while accusing Colón of being a career politician. Colón, who has no criminal prosecution experience, has attacked Torrez’s record running the Albuquerque-based office of 100 attorneys, calling him a “failed” DA.

There’s also disagreement between the two over the AG’s office reliance on out-of-state counsel to litigate civil cases for New Mexico taxpayers. Colón defends the current practice while Torrez wants to find ways to keep more of the legal work in-house.

Both are waging aggressive campaigns that feature attack ads, and the gloves came off during a recent KRQE television debate.

There are less high-profile, but still-important issues facing the next attorney general, they agree.

For example, the next AG could very well play a role in protecting reproductive rights in New Mexico if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, they say.

The winner of the Democratic contest will face Republican attorney Jeremy Gay of Gallup in the fall general election. But either Colón or Torrez will have the edge, given that Democrats have held the seat all but three times in the state’s 110-year history.

Home » 2022 election » Attorney General’s Democratic primary pits two heavy hitters


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Early release for inmates under scrutiny in race for ...
2022 election
Ronchetti has said he will push ... Ronchetti has said he will push for legislation to stiffen criminal penalties
2
False allegation surfaces against Democratic candidate in CD2 race
2022 election
Herrell and other Republicans accused Gabe ... Herrell and other Republicans accused Gabe Vasquez of misrepresenting himself and called his positions on police 'radical.'
3
Up early, Bedonie pursues a 'clean' campaign
2022 election
She plans to win the race ... She plans to win the race through face-to-face meetings
4
NM candidate removes gun-for-$100 donation offer
2022 election
Shotgun 'giveaway' appears to violate a ... Shotgun 'giveaway' appears to violate a state prohibition
5
2022 election
2022 election
Welcome to the Journal's coverage of ... Welcome to the Journal's coverage of the 2022 general election. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
Here you will find stories, key voting ...
6
Governor candidates set to face off in TV debates
2022 election
Ronchetti, Lujan Grisham to participate in ... Ronchetti, Lujan Grisham to participate in two in-person events
7
Q&A: Governor candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham
2022 election
NAME: Michelle Lujan Grisham POLITICAL PARTY: ... NAME: Michelle Lujan Grisham POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic OCCUPATION: Governor CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current governor, former member of Congress, county commissioner, ...
8
Q&A: Governor candidate Mark Ronchetti
2022 election
NAME: Mark V Ronchetti POLITICAL PARTY: ... NAME: Mark V Ronchetti POLITICAL PARTY: Republican OCCUPATION: Former chief meteorologist CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Meteorologist, dad, husband, not a politician EDUCATION: ...
9
Q&A: Attorney general candidate Raúl Torrez
2022 election
NAME: Raúl Torrez POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic ... NAME: Raúl Torrez POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic OCCUPATION: District attorney CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Bernalillo County district attorney, 2017-present; private practice, 2013-2017; assistant ...