Heidi McCollum set to become next district attorney in 5th Judicial District
Preliminary results show assistant DA handily beating Braden Angel
After seven years serving as the No. 2 prosecutor in the sprawling 5th 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 9:02 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.
In Eagle County, where McCollum and Angel both reside, McCollum had 5,109 votes to Angel’s 2,552.
“I appreciate the support of everyone in the 5th Judicial District,” McCollum said Tuesday after being reached at watch party on election night. “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 becomes 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.”
Angel congratulated McCollum on her win.
“I would just like to say thank you to everyone who voted, supported me, and shared their stories with me,” he wrote in an email to the Vail Daily. “Although I am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to serve our community as the next district attorney, I will continue to focus on promoting equity, safety, and justice across our community. I congratulate Ms. McCollum on her success and wish her the best of luck going forward.”
Both candidates ran campaigns that emphasized restorative justice and prioritizing treatment options over jail in communities where behavioral health and addiction issues are prevalent. Both also stressed outreach to under-represented communities like Eagle County’s Latinx population.
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 with the 5th Judicial District after law school before going into private practice for a few years. She has been the assistant district attorney under Bruce Brown, who is term-limited, since 2013 and during that time 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.
McCollum looks all but certain to be the next DA in the sprawling district 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 could still 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.