What Does Dominion Have To Do With School Boards, You Ask?

Now up in your school board races.

As Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports, the El Paso County Republican Party is distributing a questionnaire to local candidates running in school board races this November, party of the state GOP’s unabashed embrace of a favored slate of candidates in what are traditionally–but perhaps never again–nonpartisan races. But it’s not just the existence of a questionnaire in this case that’s raising eyebrows, but also the questions themselves:

One-third of the questions in an email sent by the county GOP to school board candidates are devoted to matters popular among election conspiracy theorists who maintain the 2020 election was rigged, despite no credible evidence having emerged to support the contention…

After warning the school board candidates must answer every question in order for their questionnaire to be considered, [El Paso County GOP chair Vickie] Tonkins asks if they “support eliminating the use of Dominion Voting Systems” and if they “support implementing a full forensic audit of the 2020 Election in Colorado.”

Other than the fact that their own elections are set to be tallied by Dominion Voting Systems hardware, these questions are totally irrelevant to a school board election, and were included for the sole purpose of clarifying loyalties–not just to the Republican Party, but to Donald Trump and the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Luning reports that the dissenting faction of local Republicans who tried and failed to oust chair Vickie Tonkins last year are upset about this questionnaire–presumably for the same reasons Heidi Ganahl refused to answer “divisive questions” about the 2020 election.

We say if the state Republican Party wants to openly partisan-ize school board elections, and the county parties want to enforce partisan loyalty by demanding candidates answer these politically-charged questions, that’s fine.

Because that means every Republican running in Colorado now has to answer those “divisive questions” too.

12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    This is about rebuilding the GOP bench, so making their school board candidates recite Trump's litmus tests makes sense.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    Schools are a natural target for hyper-polarization by Republicans.  What you teach kids is fundamental to their strategy to return the nation to Stone Age understandings of our world where lightning is the work of gods.  Reminds me of the loyalty tests in Catch 22 which the poor saps had to recite to get into the mess hall.  And the pricks who created these questionnaires probably thought they were righteous and holy when creating them.  Such awful people with so little respect for our common bonds as Americans.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Lest we forget, Marilyn Musgrave started out as a school board member: 

      Musgrave’s career in elective office began in 1991, when she served one term on the Fort Morgan School Board, where she focused on changing the local sex education curriculum to abstinence-only.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      “Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”  Huck Finn

      (A timely quote and reminder from Bret Stephens/Gail Collins from their most recent The Conversation op-ed in the NYT.)

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Going to be quite a statement by some who say "I'm answering the relevant questions, the others have nothing to do with my race.". Putting the answers up on their webpage or sending out a news release with a short explanation of what issues matter in the school board race.

    I'm also wondering if and when there will be enough of a rift between Republicans in El Paso county to trigger some sort of evident hit — voter registrations, donations for party operations, attendance at events, that sort of thing. 

  4. Early Worm says:

    This may not work out well for Republicans. In 2014, two of the three County Commissioners in Jefferson County were Republicans. Every other county office, Sheriff, DA, Assessor, Clerk and Recorder, and maybe even the coroner, were all Republicans.

    That year, the newly elected partisan Republican majority of the School Board decided to change the AP History curriculum, fire the superintendent, and move funding from community schools to charters. The three partisans were recalled. Now, there are no Republicans in Countywide office.

    Maybe it is just changing demographics, but it sure seems like the nutjobs on the school board did a great service in energizing the rational, sometimes indifferent, voters of the County. 

  5. kwtree says:

    Steve Bannon said,  “The path to save the nation is very simple — it’s going to go through the school boards.” 

  6. 2Jung2Die says:

    Partial problem with Pols' penultimate paragraph – I don't think it's "fine" to partisanize nonpartisan elections even if it smokes out some bad quotes from candidates. There are other ways to either get candidates on the record or show them ducking questions.

    While most everybody who pays attention instinctively wink-wink knows that "conservative" or "liberal/progressive" groups probably align with a major party (sure, with exceptions), it's a major problem in my book for those major parties to drop the force of their weight on nonpartisan races.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      She should not resign. Her views are not outside of what passes as the "mainstream" for El Paso County Republicans.

      This is the same county party that gave us Charlie Duke, the entire Tebedo family, Amendment Two, Doug Bruce, TABOR, Doug Lamborn, Betty Breedy, Dave Schultheis, Bill "the Fister" Cadman, Dr. Chaps, and Dave Williams.

      She is an able and effective spokesperson for the El Paso GOP.

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