Stan Garnett-John Suthers race (and others) get brutal thanks to serial killers and smears

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Scott Kimball
"Who would you rather have protecting you? The man who unleashed a serial killer on Colorado, or Stan Garnett -- the man who put the killer away?"

That tag line from a new attack ad in the Colorado Attorney General's race puts aside any doubt that we're entering the campaign's critical smear-and-be-smeared phase. It's time to get all Willie Horton on your opponent. Last one into the mudwallow is a stone cold loser.

Boulder District Attorney Garnett's broadside is directed at incumbent John Suthers, who's not in the habit of introducing himself at cocktail parties as "the man who unleashed a serial killer on Colorado."

There are legitimate questions to be asked about the deal then-US Attorney Suthers approved back in 2002 that released Scott Kimball from prison to work as an FBI informant, particularly since recently unsealed documents suggest a greater involvement of Suthers's office in the Kimball case than was previously acknowledged.

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John Suthers.
Kimball went on to be linked to at least four murders -- and, depending on who you believe, is still under investigation in several other disappearances of young women. Suthers has insisted he had a minimal role in the fiasco, and it seems clear the FBI has a lot to explain about its lax handling of their sketchy snitch. Yet several top prosecutors from Suthers' office also were involved in meetings or court hearings on Kimball's behalf, contradicting the AG's assertion that the matter "did not go to the higher levels of the U.S. Attorney's office."

Prosecutors promised a federal judge to keep Kimball on a "very tight leash." Instead, they unwittingly "unleashed" him to con his handlers and kill women. But do those circumstances justify the Hortonesque tone of Garnett's ad? (See the video in its entirety below).

Other low blows are being slung in various local races that, in other years, would hardly seem to merit such nastiness. I've written before about the oddly contentious coroner races in Colorado this year -- especially the slugfest in Arapahoe County that pits incumbent Michael Dobersen, a veteran forensic pathologist, against attorney Jay Ledbetter.

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