Mark Delbert Hurlbert, the prosecutor best known for his failed and aborted prosecution of Laker’s basketball star Kobe Bryant, announced last week through the Summit Daily that he will run for Colorado’s 16th District State Senate seat. Hurlbert’s announcement came after he unsuccessfully tried to extend term limits that would have ended his reign as 5th Judicial District Attorney at the end of 2012.
Hurlbert claimed his vast geographic district made the learning curve for the DA a steep one, and that he had the dual role as both an active trial prosecutor, as well as head administrator and supervisor of the relatively small office. In a video from an August 2009 Republican event (discovered after this article was originally published) Hurlbert stated that “after four years as DA you’re just finding out where the bathroom’s at.”
He also spoke of other officials having no term limits or longer ones, but he fails to note that because likely candidates for DAs would probably come from local attorneys who need DA cooperation in resolving their clients cases, few if any opponents want to step up and take a shot at the king. They prefer to run for open seats, and as evidence of this Hurlbert was the only name on the ballot in 2008. (Local lawyers have told me that they are looking forward to an open seat in 2012 and are working on finding a top-notch candidate from the defense bar to run for the post).
Lake County, unhappy with his performance as DA, thwarted his efforts to get the term limit extension on the ballot. Hurlbert vowed to try again in 2010 to get the extensions assuming he could repair his relationships with Lake County officials and residents. Apparently, his contact with that county was sending his requests for budget increases to them every year, but making no personal visits.
Then, unexpectedly, popular Democrat incumbent Dan Gibbs decided not to seek reelection. Despite his proclaimed desire to be DA as long as possible, an election to the State Senate will actually cut short his current term by two years, making folks wonder what his real goals are. Well most don’t wonder all that much. They know he is a career politician who has never worked a private sector job in his career.
And he opens his campaign announcement extolling the virtues of government in helping ordinary Americans. He even lives in government subsidized housing, though he is one-half of a two-attorney family. He received a pay raise, in the middle of a recession on January 1 that raised his salary to $110,000 (plus taxpayer pension contributions equal to 13% of that salary, as well as other benefits). The state Senate post only pays $30,000, and though he could supplement that with part-time work for a law firm, for example, perhaps the run for Gibbs’ seat is just the first step in climbing up the political food chain.
He will have a tough, conservative/libertarian primary opponent in Evergreen businessman Tim Leonard. Tim Leonard definitely believes in smaller government and greater civil liberties, and is a signer of the fiscal conservative manifesto-the CUT pledge established by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.
Update: On March 22, I updated this post as it is still read often and my blogging skills were quite green two months ago. I elaborated on some issues, and added a few embedded links (I was so technically inept I didn’t know how to embed links when this was published on January 21. I didn’t know how to embed photos; I added one). I also added some information that was in existence at the time, but which I had yet to discover. I also tried to improve the writing.