DENVER — It was a bad night for Democratic financier George Soros on any number of fronts, but his most embarrassing loss may have come in a down-ballot race in Jefferson County, Colorado.
Mr. Soros spent a mind-boggling $1.15 million to defeat Jefferson-Gilpin County District Attorney Pete Weir, or 18 times what Mr. Weir raised to defend his seat in what is ordinarily a low-key, low-spending affair.
Even so, the Republican Weir won, defeating Democrat Jake Lilly, a former federal prosecutor, by 53 to 47 percent.
Soros critics in Colorado were quick to rub it in. “#Soros a $1.1 million loser. Pete Weir wins re-election in 1st Judicial District,” the Independence Institute’s Amy Oliver Cooke said on Twitter.
Mr. Soros sunk $1.145 million into Colorado Safety & Justice, an independent-expenditure committee to fight Mr. Weir, as part of the hedge-fund billionaire’s foray into overhauling the criminal-justice system by electing Democratic prosecutors.
A top funder of Black Lives Matter, Mr. Soros invested heavily this year in a half-dozen district attorneys’ races nationwide in an effort to reduce racial disparities in sentencing and reduce the prison population.
But Mr. Soros’s big spending in Colorado backfired. Last month, former Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter called Mr. Weir a “model prosecutor” and decried what he described as the financier’s “false and reckless attempt to manipulate the DA’s race in the 1st Judicial District.”
Mr. Ritter cited ads and mailers that attempted to paint Mr. Weir as soft on crime.
“Soros’ ads seek to scare voters into believing their safety is in danger with Weir as district attorney. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Mr. Ritter said in an Oct. 20 op-ed in the Denver Post. “As a multibillionaire living in New York City, Soros is injecting hundreds of thousands of dollars into this race in an attempt to impose his vision of criminal justice reform on communities about which he knows nothing.”
Mr. Weir thanked voters in a Wednesday post for their rejection of Mr. Soros’ campaign blitz.
“A simple ‘thank you’ is inadequate to express my gratitude,” Mr. Weir said. “Please know that the repudiation of George Soros and the ability to continue to pursue justice for our community are the direct result of your support.”