County treasurer seeks re-election

Posted 4/28/10

Arapahoe County Treasurer Doug Milliken has focused his re-election bid on a bar graph. It is at the top of his home page, and it is the first thing …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

County treasurer seeks re-election


Arapahoe County Treasurer Doug Milliken has focused his re-election bid on a bar graph. It is at the top of his home page, and it is the first thing Milliken hands to anyone he happens to meet on the campaign trail.

The chart of red and blue bars compares the county’s investment income during Milliken’s first term with that earned between 2002 and 2006 — the year Milliken, Arapahoe County’s first Democratic treasurer, was narrowly elected.

“My knowledge of how to invest resulted in earnings, even though interest rates went down during my term,” Milliken said. “I’ve shown dramatic increases.”

The graph points to 2008 as the county’s most profitable year of the last decade with slightly more than $16 million in investment earnings. The best of the pre-Milliken “red years” was 2006 when the treasurer’s office took in less than $6 million, according to the chart.

“A lot of Republicans say they’re going to vote for me because I run this like a business,” Milliken said of the county’s bottom line. “That’s what they value.”

The incumbent Democrat’s Republican opponent is the same candidate he defeated by one percentage point in 2006. Milliken will face Aurora City Councilmember Sue Sandstrom, a certified public accountant.

“I’ve beaten her before,” Milliken said. “I don’t know how this year is going to be, so I’m going to work extremely hard. The nice thing now is I have the successes of my office. But I won’t take it for granted. I’m going all out to win again, and I imagine she will work harder too.”

Milliken’s win in 2006 came as a surprise to many in the once Republican-safe county. The election year had been the first of two recent disappointing cycles for the GOP in Arapahoe County and elsewhere.

In addition to Milliken’s win, 2006 marked the first time that two Democrats would serve simultaneously on the county’s board of commissioners. Gov. Bill Ritter and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter also sailed to easy victories in Arapahoe County.

Two years later was the first time since 1964 that a Democrat won the presidency in Arapahoe County. By Election Day, the county was boasting more registered Democrats than Republicans for the first time ever.

But now, in light of President Obama’s declining political fortunes and rising discontent in some populist factions, some are predicting that November’s midterm elections will largely favor the party out of power.

Sandstrom, criticized by some fellow Republicans for running an understated campaign in 2006, has hinted that she may take the gloves off for her upcoming rematch with Milliken, who has seen his share of controversy.

The incumbent’s 2007 inauguration was dogged by reports of financial problems, a personal bankruptcy in the early 1990s, and an aborted foreclosure on what was then his Centennial home.

“The bankruptcy was from a business I started in my 20s that I learned a great deal from,” Milliken said. “As far as the foreclosure, I think people can understand that. There were times when that was rare, and now it’s quite common.”

Milliken has since sold the house in question, which was not foreclosed upon. He is now living in a house in Littleton owned by his father.

In 2008, KMGH 7News aired a report alleging that Milliken had rarely worked a full week and often did not come into the treasurer’s office at all. Milliken has denied those claims.

“I saw the story as politically motivated,” he said. “This is not a 9-to-5 job. There’s meetings at nights. During the crunch, I was up at 5 a.m. to watch the global markets. I have worked very hard consistently for this office. The success I have had is what proves it.”

Milliken says he is most proud of a much-touted program that he says has helped local businesses spur the economy while generating an improved investment for the county.

The treasurer has used $18 million of county money to buy certificates of deposit in seven Arapahoe County banks. The deposits have been contingent upon the banks lending the money to small and medium-sized businesses in the county.

Milliken says he is more qualified than Sandstrom to oversee such programs.

“She does not have the investment background. She has an accounting background,” he said. “I have an enormous amount of more knowledge and experience of being a treasurer, and she certainly can’t criticize me on my performance.”

Prior to serving on the Aurora City Council, Sandstrom was on the pension board for Aurora’s city employees. She has owned her own small accounting firm for 19 years.

Milliken, 52, also has a background in city government. He was elected Centennial’s first city treasurer in 2001. He resigned that position in 2006 after winning his county-level race.

The certified public accountant is an Arapahoe County native who comes from a family with a history in politics. His uncle, Carl Milliken, was Colorado's secretary of state in the early 1900s. The Republican ran unsuccessfully for governor.

Milliken's father, Gordon, was on the board of directors for South Suburban Parks and Recreation for nearly 40 years. The candidate's second-cousin was Michigan's governor during the 1970s.

In 1984, Milliken was among the youngest vice presidents on Wall Street. The former Prudential Securities executive says he managed $5 billion in assets for 500 municipalities across the United States.


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.