The Real Story in District 1

I posted a whole blog on this earlier tonight (here:… but I think now that the results are in and Anne Rowe is clearly winning easily, it’s worth talking about what really happened in District 1.

Here are the facts:

Fact: Anne Rowe had the grassroots support in this district.

In their rhetoric and blog posts, the Sirotas tried to complain that Emily was some sort of grassroots activist being shunted aside by the power of big money. That she had such deep ties in the district, and that they should have been enough. The truth is exactly the opposite. Anne Rowe was the candidate in District 1 with a legit record as a community activist. She’s lived in the district for decades, and has been involved in education issues there and across Denver for years and years. She has a long, proven record as an activist, and people know and trust her. She has been very involved – including helping lead the Slavens re-opening in 1995 – for a very long time. She was the real grassroots candidate in this race.

Fact: Sirota’s false attacks about vouchers and her other attacks on Anne Rowe fell flat.

Sirota went on a media parade, posting here on Pols and elsewhere suggesting Anne Rowe was a vouchers supporter. That was simply false – Anne Rowe didn’t support vouchers ever, Sirota’s conspiracy theories notwithstanding. And her suggestion on MSNBC that Rowe was some sort of Republican was also a cheap shot. But Rowe is a known commodity in her district, and voters rejected Sirota’s false attacks. David Sirota’s suggestion of some sort of conspiracy involving George Bush was also false and debunked here:…

Fact: Sirota’s complaints about big money were ridiculous

As I wrote earlier, Sirota has received $60,000 directly from the DCTA, as well as probably at least another $30,000 in other spending, probably even more. Moreover, her husband’s ridiculous suggestion that it would take some pizza and $500 to win a board seat is totally at odds with reality and the experience of the district. Bruce Hoyt didn’t even face serious competition in 2007, and he still raised $130,000. And Sirota hasn’t exactly been a lightweight herself. If she kept up the pace, it seems likely that she ended up raising over $100,000 for her campaign. And any way you cut it, that’s big money. These aren’t $500 & Pizza campaigns. There’s a serious debate going on here, and the union spent a shocking amount (I personally bet it ends up totaling $100,000) to try and win this seat and flip the board, but they lost.

Sirota’s vitriolic negative campaign has been out of touch with reality from the beginning. She was never a viable candidate to beat Anne Rowe for exactly the reasons her husband claimed in her defense: Rowe had a record and a history in the district and Sirota didn’t. It’s too bad she ran such a negative campaign and caused the damage she did.  

50 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Car 31 says:

    However, I will admit, I didn’t expect anything different from Sirota. From the day she announced I had a hunch it would be this kind of campaign.

    That’s why I wholeheartedly endorsed her and my Car 31 juju hex continues to be 100%.  

  2. DenEdDem says:

    Could not agree more. Sirota really looked like an ass here. Makes me question a lot of his other stuff as well.  And so much for classy in victory:

    • DaftPunk says:

      At a subdued gathering for Sirota at a Beau Jo’s Pizza, efforts to get comment from the candidate were blocked by her husband.

      “Do not go near her,” cautioned David Sirota, as she stood nearby sipping a glass of wine. “You do not work for a real news organization.”

      Another Sirota supporter, Cherry Creek News and North Denver News publisher Guerin Green, followed this reporter out of the restaurant, saying, “It’s a good thing this isn’t 100 years ago. You’d be hanging from a tree.”

      Stay classy GG!

  3. MADCO says:

    RIght away or do they wait until next school year?

  4. nancycronk says:

    Your candidate won. Instead of congratulating your candidate on the win and the other candidate for a valiant effort, and moving on to talk about policy goals, you instead write a scathing post-mortem of the election from your still bitter point of view.

    I’m glad my children don’t read Pols. There’s not a whole lot of statesmanship to be found here tonight.

    • nancycronk says:

      Your candidate won. You deserve to take a victory lap. Congratulations. I wish her well.

      In regard to your diary:

      #1. Grass-roots support: I’ll give you that. Anne’s been around a long time and people know her and like her. Awesome. I think Emily has an impressive amount of grass-roots support as well, but hasn’t been around as long.

      #2. Voucher dead-horse beating: I still haven’t seen a clip or link showing Emily accused Anne personally of being in favor of vouchers. I have heard her imply the real enemy in the education reform debate is big business which has historically backed both vouchers and anti-teacher’s union policies in other places. If Emily did say Anne Rowe favored vouchers (show me concrete evidence, please), I agree that would be a mischaracterization.

      Big business, which has provided the funding for Stand For Children and DFER and LFER and so many other groups that supported Anne Rowe, are dangerously encroaching into public schools. Why is that a problem? Businesses don’t just give money away for no reason. Even through philanthropic giving, there has to be some kind of return imagined somewhere, directly or indirectly. Do they want to put candy and soda machines in our kid’s lunchrooms? Use the school buses for advertising? Indoctrinate our kids with Republican-leaning ideas like there were never dinosaurs or global warming does not exist? Do they want to buy off school board members who will then undercut teacher’s unions, which everyone knows support Democratic candidates in elections? I suspect the last reason is the most plausible, but the others are not out of the question, either. Big business has no business in schools. Period.  

      I think the Sirota campaign should have focussed on the anti-teachers union agenda. I was just one of many volunteers — I wasn’t asked to give campaign advice.

      #3. Your argument about the money is disengenous, and I think you know it.

      Anne Rowe received $197,000 in contributions and Jennifer Carson-Draper received $177,000, as of a few days ago. That is 100K more than Sirota and Jimenez. Look it up. It’s on the same site you pointed to on your other threads.

      Last, I don’t think a candidate is necessarily beholden to their contributors, so I think Anne has the opportunity to do what is right, rather than to vote the way her investers tell her to vote. Time will tell if she is anti-teacher’s union or not. I hope, for the sake of Denver’s students, she’s not.

      • DenEdDem says:

        LFER looks like it was funded internally.  Nonprofits like SFC and DFER raise money, and most of it comes from corporations. That’s how it works, it’s not some sort of disease.  You could make the same “big money” claims about PBS (takes lots of oil money) and the United Way.

        And yes, often business (and people, and unions) give money because they want something to change – but that can be as simple as improving public ed – it does not have to be nefarious. Do you really think Dan Ritchie and Bruce Benson are looking for a “return” on their “investment” in a school board race instead of trying to gets kids a better shot at college? Really?

        Public schools are already a huge business. The money is already there. The complaint that somehow the money on your side is somehow more pure than on the other side is hogwash.  

        • nancycronk says:

          taking our best teachers with them. He told me as much when I talked to him years ago. He is completely clueless about education.

          • DenEdDem says:

            Not everyone who does not vote for your candidate wants “to see teachers unions die”. There are some bad union regulations, there are some bad district regulations. There are good teachers in charter schools and TFAers, and yes in union schools. And bad ones, ditto.

            The idea that in supporting something in addition to the traditional school model means “the death of unions and all good teachers” is campaign rhetoric and sloganeering. Rise above it instead of shoving people like Benson down to it.  

            • nancycronk says:


              Don’t really want to have to re-type how I know what I know about Benson.

              BTW, I don’t disagree there are some good charter schools — Cherry Creek has one other parents seem happy with (not my educational philosophy, but to each, her own). I also agree there are a few bad teachers in every school, as well as the vast majority who do a great job in every school, and rarely get credit.

              Black-and-white thinking is not going to fix our education problems.

            • sxp151 says:

              It will help you use the word more accurately. Nancy’s comment was specifically about Bruce Benson, and you responded with a bunch of irrelevant crap that doesn’t say anything.  

              • DenEdDem says:

                Unless you need me to explain any of this to you

                [glib] – adjective

                1.readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so: a glib talker; glib answers.

      • dwyer says:

        No problem. Carpetbaggers are a real familiar sight out here in the WEst.

        • ClubTwitty says:

          Then settled in Colorado, I note that–as a citizen–I am of equal stature as any life-long Coloradan, able to vote and run for office.  

          Unless you are Ute or Cheyenne, I suggest we are all ‘carpetbaggers.’  

          • dwyer says:

            AS such, I am hypersensitive to how the “locals” view the outsiders.  Nancy Crock writes about Denver from Cherry Creek, I think.

          • Gray in Mountains says:

            CO is the first place I lived that I ever developed a sense of place

            • ClubTwitty says:

              I have lived in CO far longer than in any other locale.  I consider myself a Coloradan.  

              Soon after I moved here I was speaking before the Mesa County BOCC.  The only question I got was from Doralyn (‘Donkeysuit’) Genova…

              “Where are YOU from and how long have you lived here?” Kathy and Jim rolled their eyes, along with Ms. Genova, when I answered.

              They want our money, they want to sell us homes, they want our business… but our opinion?  Not so much.  

              I find it a tiresome attitude.  

              • MADCO says:

                It’s just plain stupid.

                It takes about 10 minutes to figure out the distinct local issues.

                Taxes, education, transportation,  medicaid – about the same everywhere.

                Water takes a few more minutes to understand – and most of the locals  don’t understand the law or the issues either. (Example – just ask people who owns the water that falls on their roof. Or whether and how Reuter-Hess has water to fill it.)

                I understand why the argument  gets made –  any counter argument takes too long. It’s still pointless.  Oddly, it only seems to get made much out west, where supposedly we free thinkers don’t care about such trivia.

                Secretary Clinton won a Senate seat in NY. Senator E. Dole won her’s in Virginia.  But go to Texas and you’ll be reminded 100 times a day why you are not a Texan. And around here about once or twice a week why you are not a Coloradan.

                It’s ok- you locals can call yourselves “native” all you like.  

                • ClubTwitty says:



                  boring and irritating; irksome

                  And plain stupid.  

                  • Aristotle says:

                    But this sort of thing is hardly unique to Colorado. People look for easy, prejudiced ways to dismiss opinions they don’t want to hear, and localized nativism is still hunky dory with most people in America.

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      in the little Kentucky town my parents retired to…25 years ago.  She’s a ‘newcomer’ and ‘carpetbagger’ too.  I wasn’t implying it is limited to CO, indeed–as you note–it exists all over, but the Western Slope does find it a quite prevalent persuasion, in my experience.    

                    • Middle of the Road says:

                      Marilyn Musgrave tried to paint her as a New York carpetbagger. Angie had lived in Colorado for nearly 20 years at the time. Moved here pretty much straight after her basketball career.

                      But what quicker way is there to discount someone’s opinion than to dismiss them because of where they live? It’s the argument most people revert to when they have nothing else to say about the actual issues.  

                    • Middle of the Road says:

                      I probably shouldn’t even comment on state politics until I have lived here as long as dwyer has been alive.  

                    • Car 31 says:

                      everyone can stay.

                      Except for ‘dem Texans and Californians.

                      They all just need their driver’s licenses revoked.

          • Gray in Mountains says:

            been done is not a good way to decide that is how you should continue to do them. There is always something to learn from others. However, when folks move here, or anywhere, they must learn what the framework is in the new locale. The framework (CO likes to stovepipe) is terrifically informative.

  5. Colorado Pols says:

    Let’s not go off pretending that money doesn’t make a difference. It doesn’t take anything away from Rowe or Sirota to state the obvious: That the #1, #2, and #3 reasons that Rowe won is that she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a school board race.

    Again, this isn’t to disparage anyone, but the breakdown here isn’t very complicated. What Rowe did or didn’t say, or what Sirota did or didn’t say, are ultimately far less relevant than the fundraising. At last report, Rowe had raised $197,000. Sirota had raised $89,000. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you are running for — 99 times out of 100 you’re going to win if you have that much more money than your opponent.

    • Ralphie says:

      The Governor of Montana liked Sirota!

    • DaftPunk says:

      I don’t watch much commercial TV to know if she had ads running, but in yard signs they were even, Sirota had lots more public visibility events (street corner honk and waves), and Sirota was dropping three pieces of mail a day in my mailbox to biweekly for Rowe.

    • DenEdDem says:

      I think the better candidate won. And oddly enough, better candidates often (gasp) raise more money.  

    • glasscup says:

      I expect that when Emily  Sirota files her final campaign finance report, she’ll show that she spent over $100,000. Additionally, now that the report from the union group Delta 4.0 is out, it looks like they probably spent over $100,000 too.

      Now, it’s definitely true that Anne Rowe spent a good deal more money. But in a school board race, $100,000 is more than enough money to get your message out there. Everyone knew what Sirota stood for. They overwhelmingly rejected it. I don’t think it’s at all true that simply having more money means you will win.

      Money doesn’t buy votes. It gets your message in front of voters. The voters in District 1 know what they were voting for and they voted against Sirota and her anti-reform message. You don’t lose an election by 30 points because people agreed with you.

      It’s not surprising that district 1 voters would solidly defeat an anti-reform candidate either. Historically, District 1 has been very pro-reform. Bruce Hoyt won here overwhelmingly last time.  

  6. sxp151 says:

    Might be nice to stop dumping on Emily Sirota for, I don’t know, a day. This diary is just pathetic: whine whine whine. Sirota lost by a landslide; what else do you want? Do you want her to come post here and say “I’m sorry for trying to win”?

    I guess you people need to keep posting about this shit because you have nothing else to say and no other threads to comment on, but endlessly repeating one thing in many different diaries doesn’t make you look like less of a one-issue shill.

    Oh by the way, Hi DenEdDem!

  7. John Tzekara says:

    Honestly — your candidate won.  You should be proud of that and be gracious in your victory.  

    Then again, hearing Anne’s staff, I guess this doesn’t really surprise me.  I didn’t know either candidate well (not my district), but I heard one of Anne’s staffers joking in the back of a forum about Emily’s child not actually being hers and how she used him “as a prop.”

    Your post and her staff’s attitude reflect poorly on a new elected official.

    • glasscup says:

      This is in response to this and earlier comments suggesting this post is to disparage Sirota. It isn’t.

      I thought it was really important that some clear the air about what really happened in this election, instead of vitriol and misinformation people have been spewing.  

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