Douglas County GOP Throws Down In Jefferson County School Board Race

That according to Ed News Colorado this weekend, noted for the record:

Dougco Republican Party chairman Mark Baisley sent an email Thursday notifying party volunteers that they’ll be calling on behalf of Jefferson County school board candidates Preston Branaugh and Jim Powers until Tuesday.

“Thank you for all of the phone calls that you have been making to get the vote out. The returns reported by the Douglas County Clerks office show that we are well ahead,” he wrote.

“We are shifting our focus to help our Republican friends in Jefferson County with their races. If you sign in to the website to make more calls, please note the change in the script, as we will be calling Jefferson County residents from now until November 1. Thanks!” [Pols emphasis]

A copy of the email was forwarded to Education News Colorado and others. Jeffco school board candidates Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman, Branaugh and Powers’ opponents, cited it Friday on their Facebook pages…

In 2009, Dougco’s Republican Party actively endorsed a four-member slate of conservatives in the non-partisan board races. The slate was elected and, 18 months later, the Dougco school board unanimously approved the state’s first district-run voucher pilot.

So when Jeffco’s Republican Party decided this year to actively promote conservative school board candidates Branaugh and Powers, also known as “the dads,” the two were repeatedly questioned about their positions on vouchers.

Their responses, particularly in early candidate forums, were not definitive.

Throughout this school board campaign in Jefferson County, the issue that the two openly partisan Republican candidates have been dogged by, but refused to get “mired in,” is the question of religious school vouchers–like they tried to institute in Douglas County after the conservative taker of that school board in 2009, now stalled in court with an injunction preventing them from going forward. A long and costly legal battle, pitting Douglas County public schools and religious school advocates against the constitutional prohibition on public funding for religious education–a battle these ideologues have been waiting for–is about to get underway.

Jefferson County is not Douglas County, but it is the state’s largest school district. And if the Douglas County GOP is helping now, the next logical question is whether Jefferson County has something to offer in return later. Given “The Dads'” vague answers to the question of support for DougCo-style private school vouchers, perhaps defraying legal expenses?

We know a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who hope not.

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