Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, has added her name to the list of candidates for governor.
The decision came to her as she traveled across Colorado, hearing from people about their concerns.
Coffman took her office in 2015, following 10 years as Chief Deputy Attorney General. The hop to governor isn’t about a dislike for the job, she says, but to help make the law, rather than guard it.
“What I have found is that the issues that I want to impact are policy issues and the attorney general is not a policy maker. I'm there to follow and enforce the law,” she said in an interview with 9NEWS.
In the Republican primary, Coffman will go up against the likes of District Attorney George Brauchler, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and businessman Doug Robinson. She said she’d vote for anyone in the group, but felt the need to run because of what’s still lacking from the lineup.
"You know, I have a lot of friends in the field who are running, but I think it's obvious just from appearances what I bring, in part, that is different from my colleagues in the primary,” she said. “And I think that my experience in public service in Colorado, which has spanned two decades in both the legislative and executive branch, makes me extremely well suited to solve problems in Colorado."
Coffman has taken a moderate stance on gay rights in the state. Over summer, Coffman said she believed she was the only Republican attorney general in the country to attend an LGBT pride event. Last month, she filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which is involved in a suit with a bake shop in Lakewood that did not want to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.
The brief says, in part:
Everyone agrees that the government cannot force people or entities to “speak.” School children cannot be punished for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance. A newspaper cannot be compelled to print a politician’s editorial. But those scenarios are nothing like the circumstances here, in which a state law has merely prohibited discriminatory denials of service by businesses open to the public. If a retail bakery will offer a white, three-tiered cake to one customer, it has no constitutional right to refuse to sell the same cake to the next customer because he happens to be African-American, Jewish, or gay.
“I don't think I need to push a particular agenda. What I want to do is be myself,” she told 9NEWS. "I'm also very conservative on some issues. So I'm looking forward to the time to express those opinions.”
Coffman excitedly shouted President Trump’s name at a gather of Colorado Republicans, following Trump’s win. A year has passed since then.
"As a Republican, I'm very pleased that we have a Republican president,” she said. "I spent a good bit of time my first two years as attorney general fighting the Obama administration because there wasn't a respect for state sovereignty and the federal government was overreaching."
9NEWS asked Coffman what she makes of Tom Tancredo, a former U.S. representative who's now running with the Constitution party, kicking off his campaign with a strident defense of the free speech rights of white nationalists.
She said Tancredo "has an interesting argument to make."