Senior Obama Strategist Takes Leading Role In Douglas County School Board Race

October 15, 2013
Obama's Senior Colorado adviser is running the canvassing operation for the  DougCo union candidates

Obama’s Senior Colorado Adviser is running the canvassing operation for the DougCo union candidates

CASTLE ROCK – The liberal organizations bankrolling four union-backed Douglas County school board candidates are rolling in the big guns in a late push to seize control of the school district from conservatives.

A senior strategist for Barack Obama’s campaign is now actively organizing ground game and other operations for the four union candidates in Douglas County – Bill Hodges, Ronda Scholting, Barbra Chase and Julie Keim.

Craig Hughes, who made his name in Colorado after crafting Senator Michael Bennett’s cut-throat campaign strategy that helped Bennett win a comeback victory over Weld County D.A. Ken Buck in 2010, is now the mover and shaker organizing the effort to elect the four union candidates, public documents show.

An ad on Craigslist in Denver advertises paid canvassing jobs with Hughes’ firm Hilltop Public Solutions to help the union slate. According to Hilltop’s website, Hughes manages their Colorado operations.

The ad seeks “part-time canvassers to knock on doors in Douglas County, supporting progressive school board candidates trying to improve the quality of a public school education.” The job pays $12/hour with the possibility of “performance and/or referral bonuses.”

It’s not clear what organization is paying Hilltop to recruit paid canvassers, as financial reports have not been completed for independent expenditure committees registered to work on the school board race. Hilltop Public Affairs and Craig Hughes did not respond to inquiries as to who was paying them.

It’s likely that the local teachers union, Douglas County Federation of Teachers (DCFT) – an AFL-CIO affiliate – is funding the paid canvassing effort. Last month, when DCFT endorsed the union slate, Our Colorado News reported “the organization will not contribute money to candidates’ campaigns, union officials said, but will spend an undetermined amount of money on election-related activities.”

Ronda Scholting and Barbra Chase denied any knowledge of the Obama adviser’s efforts to assist their campaigns, citing laws about coordination.

“The canvassers working for my campaign are volunteers,” Scholting said in an email to The Observer.

“We can’t control that… and if that’s the case it makes me sad,” said Chase, referencing Hilltop’s hiring of out-of-county paid canvassers.

Bill Hodges and Julie Keim did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2012, Hughes was senior strategist for the Obama campaign in Colorado, reprising the same role he held in 2008. According to his bio on Hilltop Public Solution’s website, Hughes was also a campaign staffer on the Clinton/Gore campaigns in 1992 and 1996.

The firm Hilltop Solutions is lead by Nicholas Baldick, who ran the 2004 presidential campaign of scandal-plagued former U.S. Senator John Edwards.

Hilltop is also advising liberal CU Regent candidate Linda Shoemaker in the 2nd Congressional District, for which it has been paid $6,000 already according to Secretary of State Records.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

11 Responses to Senior Obama Strategist Takes Leading Role In Douglas County School Board Race

  1. Middle Kid
    October 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Oh my. First Mayor Bloomburg going to our rural areas to tell us how to live our lives. Now we have the Unions moving in to tell parents how best to school our children. Please leave. You don’t live here. For those of us that do, send a message to the union and defeat their candidates! Vote!

    • keith
      October 16, 2013 at 7:59 am

      The union thugs are at it again. Why is it when an employee/teacher cannot cut it at work and have to have union thugs help them keep their job instead of them being fired as they should be.

  2. zippy
    October 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Craig Hughs is a long time Coloradan. Ken Buck lost because he is too extreme for Colorado, the same reason Tom Brophy Gessler will lose, and Ken Buck Amy Stephens Owen Hill will lose.

    • Joe Jackson
      October 16, 2013 at 7:54 am

      Zippy, your comment was spoken like a true liberal. Actually, you really should support Amy Stephens. After all, without her, you would have had to buy your KenyanKare through the federal website rather than through the AmyCare site.

      Craig Hughs only has his own financial interests in mind. He would sell his mother if he thought he could make a buck.

  3. Mick Rafter
    October 16, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I’ll be waiting on these Hilltop hitmen to show up at my Douglas County home. I promise I will be following them around rebutting any Bs they try to throw down. I was approached about helthcare at an AIR FORCE FOOTBALL GAME! That’s right an AIR FORCE FOOTBALL GAME. These people are lying so much about the crap they are shoving down everyone’s throat that they have to resort to pushing it at EVERY government controlled institution in an attempt to turn at least one giver because they have won over every taker already by paying them.

  4. Bob Terry
    October 16, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Well they are going to pull out all the stops. They will succeed, IF we let them succeed. Democrats and Liberals are very good at twisting the picture to fit a need…then not doing what was promised. I guess the alternative is we can become California…With De Gette, Udall, Bennett, our House and Senate..our elected Governor…and this Liber Union school board run in Douglas County we could become that real quick. Look at Boulder and Boulder County…really want that mindset?
    Lets rename the State Boulderado. Peace, Love, Dope and Taxes..and your kids will still be as dumb as a box ‘O Rocks

  5. Charles
    October 16, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Teachers unions are bankrupting the states–look at Wisconsin thied to recall the governor,Illions under massive debt, Detroit in Michigan, etc. These unions gouge the tax payer with Cadilac medical insurance, what is worse education has taken a dive. Only the stupid would do the union bidding and only idiots would vote for union sympatisers.That’s a vote to gouge the taxpayer.

  6. For Shore
    October 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    As Reagan said – “…the problem with our liberal friends is that they know so much that simply isn’t so…”

    You want to know what unions do to education –

    I moved from NJ with my 5 school aged children a little over 2 years ago to Douglas CO and found the public school system far superior to what was thought of as a “great” public education system in NJ. I have so many anecdotes, but that is for another post.

    Reality – if you want to see what a teacher’s union iron grip on a state feels like look at NJ. Over priced, underperforming, arrogant, and highly segregated. Sure a few highly affluent lilly white towns have superior schools, typicall at $20-25k per student – yes Colorado 20k+ per student. Great teachers make no more than tenured lazy ones, and you can’t get rid of bad teachers nor reward good ones.

    Newark, an epically bad system pays over $23k per student and resists reform like a drowning man holds onto the last life vest. Why? politics – teachers Union dues go directly to fund Dem candidates as do the no show jobs.

    Property taxes are routinely in excess of $1000/mo for modest homes, and many Doulas Co homes would exceed $2000/mo.

    I could write a book – the best way I can summ it up is by quoting the past President of the ill-named union for teachers – NJEA (NJ Education Assoc.)

    When asked if the NJEA represented teachers or students –

    “…we’ll start representing students when they pay union dues…”

    This isi NOT a political issue if you are concerned for quality education, and keeping quality teachers – at a reasonable cost. The more we pay for k-12 education, the lower our performance has been – look it up.

    Look out Colorado, all the jouys of East Coast liberal arrogance are on the way.


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