Jeffco school board incumbents swamping opponents in campaign contributions

The fundraising gap between incumbents and challengers in Jefferson County’s school board race has widened in the last weeks before Election Day.

The three incumbents running for re-election to the school board of Jeffco Public Schools have now each reported more than $50,000 in contributions to their individual campaigns.

Their challengers lag far behind. Erica Shields, who is running against incumbent Susan Harmon, has raised a total of $4,353. Matt Van Gieson, who is running against incumbent Brad Rupert, has raised $3,065.

Mail ballots went out earlier this month and voting ends on Tuesday, Election Day. The current 5-0 majority swept to power two years ago when voters recalled three conservative school board members.

Large contributions reported in Friday’s filings include the Public Education Committee, a small donor committee affiliated with the Colorado Education Association, giving $16,500 to the campaign of Ron Mitchell, the incumbent running unopposed. The JCEA Small Donor Committee, a committee of the local teachers union, gave Harmon’s campaign $4,000.

Reports show the majority of the contributions have been spent on consultants, campaign mailers and other advertisements.

As of the end of the day Friday, the Jefferson County clerk’s office reported 74,435 ballots had been turned in. In the 2015 election,185,992 ballots were cast.