So far, more than $70,000 donated to campaigns for Douglas County School Board

Candidates offer support for one another as Election Day draws near


Although candidates are distancing themselves from the term “slate" — which has been a popular approach to running for school board in recent elections — three candidates for the Douglas County School Board have referred to themselves as “a team,” and the remaining three say they have similar ideas but are running individually.

And as the six candidates enter the home stretch to Election Day, Nov. 5, campaign contributions are shedding light on how the nonpartisan races for the unpaid posts are shaping up.

Incumbent David Ray, former Douglas County School District employee Susan Meek and former attorney and school volunteer Elizabeth Hanson have pooled resources to support one another in the election, Meek said, forming what Hanson characterized as a “team.”

Lawyer Kory Nelson has publicly supported airline pilot Andy Jones and says Franceen Thompson, a former STEM School Highlands Ranch parent, would bring good perspective to the board. Jones said the three candidates know each other but not well.

Nelson and Ray are facing off in District F, Hanson and Thompson in District C, and Meek and Jones are running in District A.

So far this election season, more than $72,600 has poured into the school board campaigns. That's nearly as much as the $77,325 total for the 2015 election, the last time six candidates ran for school board.

In 2015, candidates spent nearly as much as they raised, putting $74,613 toward the election. Expenditures in 2019 surpassed $17,000 as of the last reporting period in September, but candidates have roughly one month left to ramp up spending before the election.

Among individual candidates, Hanson leads the pack in the most monetary contributions, collecting $16,817 as of the Sept. 30 reporting period. Ray has raised $14,432, while Meek has $14,185 in contributions.

Among candidates not on the Ray, Meek and Hanson team, Jones secured the most contributions with $14,022.16. Thompson has earned $6,912.00 while Nelson's contributions came in at $6,328.90.

The bulk of contributions to candidates are from people or businesses local to Douglas County. Jones, an airline pilot, received a number of out-of-state contributions, many from individuals who listed their occupations as “pilot” or for airlines including United, American Airlines and Delta.

Republicans holding local and state offices have contributed to Nelson, Jones and Thompson.

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl donated to Nelson. Douglas County officials, including Treasurer David Gill, Coroner Jill Romann and Commissioner Lora Thomas, contributed to Thompson. State Rep. Kim Ransom donated to Thompson, Jones and Nelson.

The local group Douglas County Parents, which is registered with the state as a political committee, has made non-monetary contributions to Ray, Meek and Hanson, whom they've publicly endorsed. The contributions included items like launch party supplies, t-shirts and yard signs. The group gave Ray, Meek and Hanson approximately $1,215 apiece.

Education leaders, including current school board members, donated to Ray, Meek and Hanson, as well as individuals from neighboring school districts.

Ray is the only incumbent to seek re-election. The election will decide if he will keep his seat and will determine who will fill the seats of outgoing directors Wendy Vogel and Anne-Marie Lemieux, who are not running for second four-year terms.


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