UPDATE #2: Colorado Community Media's Jane Reuter:
Gessler asked for support from other conservatives to knock on doors, and said he also would have some paid opportunities.
As Secretary of State, Gessler is charged with overseeing and administering Colorado’s election code, voter registration and campaign finance laws.
Gessler’s political director did not respond directly when asked if the Secretary of State’s involvement in the board election was appropriate, given the office’s stated mission to “ensure the integrity of elections.”
Gessler “is not afraid to lead when the future of education in Colorado is at stake,” Rory McShane responded through an email, adding that election integrity is Gessler’s top priority. “If not Scott Gessler, then who? Where are the other candidates with the courage to fight for the future of education in Colorado?”
UPDATE: The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports:
“We are currently following and will continue to follow all campaign finance laws,” [Gessler political director Rory] McShane said.
Campaign finance laws prevent a candidate committee from accepting contributions or making donations to another candidate committee…
McShane said groups supporting the conservative school board candidates are paying the walkers, not Gessler’s gubernatorial campaign but that’s not how critics read the missives.
In fact, there's nothing in the messages posted by Scott Gessler's campaign clarifying that at all, but there's your answer on the legality question.
An "important update" from Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's gubernatorial campaign today:
I’m a firm believer that we conservatives need to be team players. That means sometimes we do something that’s inconvenient or difficult because it advances the cause of liberty that we all believe in. As you know, Conservative Education is one of my top priorities, and I’m proud that it’s a front-and-center issue in my campaign.
Nowhere in this country is the battle for conservative reform more pronounced than in Douglas County, just south of Denver. If we’re able to defeat the union-funded liberals there, we have hope for defending education across Colorado.
Against the advice of the Denver political elites, I’ve ordered my campaign for Governor to shift focus for the next week until the Douglas County elections, to ensure that conservatives are victorious this year. [Pols emphasis]
We’re actively recruiting door-knockers to get out the vote. We also have paid opportunities – but we need you if we’re going to be successful as a team.
First of all…"Denver elites?" He's the Colorado Secretary of State.
Moving past that, according to the announcement on Gessler's Facebook page, he's hiring "walkers" for the Douglas County school board races at the competitive rate of $11 an hour. One the one hand, there's not a lot to lose by spending time in conservative Douglas County as a Republican gubernatorial primary contender. On the other, why would he hire staffers to help campaign for Douglas County school board candidates? The upside of ingratiating himself to those involved in those admittedly hot races just doesn't seem like it's worth funding a field campaign. It's not the first time that Gessler has behaved in what seems to be an erratic and tangential way on the campaign trail, but perhaps it will pay off beyond our visible horizon.
One possible explanation might be the support Gessler has received from former U.S. Senate candidate and state board of education chair Bob Schaffer. The "voucherization" scheme at the heart of the controversy in these school board races is one of Schaffer's pet issues, and apparently Gessler's as well–to the extent that he capitalized "Conservative Education" for emphasis.
And of course, this must all be legal, because it's our own Secretary of State doing it (pregnant pause). Right?