Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 17, 2013, 4:00pm

DENVER (Legal Newsline) -- Cynthia Coffman, Colorado's chief deputy attorney general, has joined the race to be the state's next top lawyer.

Coffman, a Republican who has served as the office's chief deputy for more than eight years, made the announcement on her campaign website Wednesday.

Coffman -- the wife of former Colorado Secretary of State and current U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman -- was selected by current Attorney General John Suthers to serve as his top deputy in March 2005.

As Suthers' top lawyer, Coffman manages operations of the 400-person office.

"I have made a career of public service. The majority of my 22 years of law practice have been spent as a government attorney. I am a lawyer at heart, not a politician. In fact, I've never run for elected office before," she said in a statement. "I want to be attorney general because I am committed to serving Colorado as the state's top lawyer and law enforcement official."

One of the state's "pressing" legal issues motivating her to run, she says, is the federal government's continued overreach.

"It is up to the attorney general to defend Coloradans' rights to govern their state according to their own laws, and not by the Obama administration's agenda in Washington D.C.," she said.

In addition to her time at the Attorney General's Office, Coffman also worked at the General Assembly, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and as the governor's chief counsel.

"There is a lot of work to be done and I am ready to step in and run the Attorney General's Office on my first day in office," she said. "I look forward to protecting Coloradans, from the classroom to the courtroom, from the family room to the boardroom."

The 2014 race is an open one. Suthers, also a Republican, is constitutionally term limited.

He took the office in January 2005 following the departure of former Attorney General Ken Salazar, who resigned to take his seat as a U.S. senator.

Suthers then was elected to a full term in November 2006 and re-elected in 2010.

Former Adams County District Attorney Don Quick, a Democrat, kicked off his 2014 campaign for attorney general in February. He formally launched his campaign in May.

In addition to being a prosecutor for 25 years, he also served as an assistant to Salazar.

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