KUSA – George Brauchler, the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, announced Wednesday that he will not try to enter the 2016 U.S. Senate race.
Instead, the Republican said he would seek another term as DA.
Brauchler, who prosecuted the Aurora theater shooting case, was on the short list of Republican candidates to challenge Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet for his seat.
Brauchler told 9NEWS it was a tough—and close—decision for him.
"I got pretty far down the field," Brauchler told 9NEWS. "I just couldn't do it to my family."
He did not get as far as beginning to build a campaign, but had seriously contemplated a run in the weeks following the end of the Aurora theater shooting trial.
Brauchler is also talked about as a potential contender for the governor's office in 2018, a contest which would put him up against any number of interested Republicans in a primary—but which would have no incumbent in the general election.
The difficulty of running against a sitting U.S. Senator was only a minor factor in the decision not to run this year, according to Brauchler.
"Ninety nine percent of it was 'what if I win,'" Bracuhler said, citing the difficulty of raising his children while flying back and forth to Washington DC. "Maybe one percent of it was 'wouldn't it be a slog.'"
Brauchler was elected Arapahoe County District Attorney four months after the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting. His outspoken support of the death penalty and criticism of Gov. John Hickenlooper's decision not to execute convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap earned him praise from conservative circles, stoking speculation that he would challenge Bennet in 2016.
Speculation about his political future was rampant during the months-long theater shooting trial, which ended in a conviction for the man who killed 12 people and injured 70 others. Brauchler became the target of criticism, however, after the jury failed to make a unanimous decision about the death penalty, meaning that the killer was sentenced to life in prison instead.
This was something the defense offered in a plea deal before the trial even began.
Republican Colorado state Sen. Tim Neville has announced that he will challenge Bennet in the 2016 election. Brauchler, however, was a favorite to receive the nomination.
(© 2015 KUSA)