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.