DENVER – The Secretary of State released turnout numbers for each county on Monday; 847,660 Coloradans have returned their ballots.
In the most watched school board race in the country, turnout numbers in Douglas County suggest good news for backers of reform, with Republican turnout besting that of Democrats by more than a 2-1 margin in the county, according to the statistics.
In the GOP-leaning county, 36,058 Republicans returned their ballots to the County Clerk while only 14,329 Democrats have done the same.
While the Secretary of State only releases numbers for statewide issues or elections, ballots still include local initiatives and races.
Veteran campaign staffers note the decidedly negative tone struggling candidates and operatives take in the waning days of an election.
Brenda Smith, the director of the local chapter of the AFL-CIO-affiliated teacher union and a chief backer of the pro-union slate of school board candidates, showed no signs of backing off of her effort to push the union’s campaign talking points as Tuesday evening approaches.
“Teachers have lost their voice…Morale has plummeted. You have a lot of really great teachers leaving the school system, going to other districts,” said Smith, despite state survey’s showing the opposite.
“In Douglas County, what you have is a school board that in the past few years has pursued a number of free-market reforms, and we want to see those reforms continued on,” said Americans for Prosperity Colorado director Dustin Zvonek.
“The unions have really waged a year-long misinformation campaign to say, hey the school district’s not doing well, the reforms aren’t working. That’s why we’re involved. We want to make sure the residents of that district know that the reforms that have been put in place, that they are working,” Zvonek continued.
In 2011, pro-reform DougCo school board member Kevin Larsen beat his opponent with 30,016 votes compared to 23,027. Justin G. Williams, the other pro-reform candidate, beat his opponent with 27,266 votes, or 51.15 percent.
Political observers quietly say that unless Democrats have a massive influx of mail-in ballots on Election Day, pro-union candidates may continue to find themselves participating in school board meetings as spectators.