Teacher unions support incumbents for Jeffco school board

Financial support significant between incumbents and challengers

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Incumbents in the Jefferson County Board of Education race have garnered significantly more financial support than their challengers, as reported by the Oct. 17 contributions and expenditures report filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Current Jeffco school board member Susan Harmon, running for reelection in District 2 has raised the most financial support totaling $49,602.32. With Brad Rupert, running for reelection in District 1 just behind her with $48,982.34 in financial support.

Rupert's challenger, Matt Van Gieson reported the lowest financial support totaling $2,302.39. And Erica Shields, challenging Harmon for the District 1 seat reported $3,278 in financial support.

"I’m proud of the grassroots support I'm receiving, " Van Gieson said when asked about his fundraising. "I'm getting it from local friends and family."

The challengers in these races have raised significantly less financial support that the current sitting board. Shields' largest financial contributor was herself in the amount of $830; and Van Giesons's largest financial contribution came a Golden resident in the amount of $550.

Both Shields and Van Gieson also received support from the Jeffco Republicans Men's Club in the amount of $112.

Rupert's largest contribution came from the Public Education Committee, a small donor committee registered by the Colorado Education Association (CEA), a statewide federation of teacher and educational workers' labor unions, in the amount of $20,514.

“It surprises me, but I'm grateful for the support,” Rupert said, adding that while he knew the CEA was going to contribute, he was unaware they had contributed that much.

That committee also donated to Harmon in the amount of $16,500 and Ron Mitchell, running unopposed for reelection in District 5 in the amount of $4,014.

The Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) small donor committee, which describes their purpose as supporting pro-public education candidates on the state and local level, donated $4,000 to each incumbent candidate.

John Ford, president of the JCEA, also personally contributed a total of $1,000 split evenly between the three current board members.

Incumbent candidates also gained financial support from current elected officials, Golden City Council member Laura Weinberg, Jefferson County Commissioner Casey Tighe, US Congressman Jared Polis, US congressman Ed Perlmutter, fellow Jeffco Board of Education members Amanda Stevens and Ali Lasell and former Jeffco School Superintendent Cindy Stevenson.

The financial reports cover contributions ranging from Oct. 28, 2016 to Oct. 12, 2017. Another financial report filing is due Nov. 3.

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