A political committee affiliated with Democrats for Education Reform has spent nearly $126,866 in two State Board of Education races, and the group’s state director indicates more such spending is planned.
That amount is more than five times the combined $22,560 spent as of Oct. 8 by Democratic candidates Henry Roman and Jane Goff from their own campaign treasuries.
Roman, running in the 3rd District and Goff, the 7th District incumbent, also have received smaller but still substantial direct contributions from committees affiliated with the Colorado Education Association (CEA).
Jen Walmer, Colorado director of DFER and the registered agent for Raising Colorado, an independent expenditure committee affiliated with DFER, said the contributions are motivated by concern about the increasing politicization of education boards by Republicans, such as has happened in Jefferson County.
“We have seen the importance of board of education races,” she said.
The Raising Colorado independent expenditure committee on Sept. 25 spent $70,500 in support of Roman. On Oct. 7 the committee spent $56,366 in support of Goff. Walmer said the Roman spending was for radio ads and the Goff spending for direct mail. The media pieces were produced by out-of-state firms. Roman’s own committee has raised $17,374 and spent $6,370. Goff has raised $31,010 and spent $16,190.
Some 52 percent of Roman’s contributions have come from teachers unions, while Goff has received 29 percent of her funding from such sources.
The Public Education Committee, a small donor group affiliated with CEA, has given $4,500 each to Roman and Goff. The Pueblo Education Association small donor committee also has given $4,500 to Roman, and the Jefferson County Education Association small donor committee has given the same amount to Goff.
Small donor committees, which are funded by member donations or dues deductions, can give a maximum of $4,500 to a candidate each election cycle. There’s no limit on spending by independent expenditure committees, but they can’t coordinate their spending with candidate campaign committees.
Republican board candidates have lagged behind in campaign fundraising. Marcia Neal, the 3rd District incumbent, has raised $12,895 and spent $10,881. (Neal had a primary opponent and spent $4,006 in that election.) Laura Boggs, GOP candidate in the 7th, has raised $4,312 and spent $1,220.
Read the full article at Chalkbeat Colorado.