Two years after the recall election of three conservative Jeffco school board members attracted big money and national attention, this November’s election promises to be much quieter affair.
Three incumbents are running for reelection this fall, and two of them are facing competition from two candidates who filed required signature petitions on Friday just before the deadline.
District officials have yet to certify the petitions as valid, so the field is not officially set.
Current board member Susan Harmon, representing the foothills in District 2, faces opposition from Erica Shields, while board member Brad Rupert, representing Arvada’s District 1, is being challenged by Matt Van Gieson.
Ron Mitchell, the board president, will face no competition for his seat on the five-member board.
“It is significantly different,” Mitchell said Friday. “I don’t think any of us knew what would happen this year.”
The deadline to turn in signatures to the school district was 4:30 p.m.
No campaign information from either Shields or Van Gieson was immediately available. A Matt Van Gieson was previously listed as the PTO president for Golden View Classical Academy, a charter school, on the organization’s website.
Shields posted online in February that she had been named precinct captain for the the Jefferson County Republican House District 22.
Last month, the Jefferson County Republican Party Facebook page posted a call for candidates to compete against the three incumbents. “Conservative candidates urgently needed,” it said. A Republican party official said Friday the call received no response.
Laura Boggs, a former Jeffco school board member and critic of the current board, said she believes there aren’t more candidates because people are intimidated.
“When special interest groups spend so much money and take local control away, it makes it tough for everyday folk to step up … They think they can’t compete,” Boggs said. “I don’t think it’s terribly surprising.”
In their two years as a board, the five current members hired a new superintendent, voted to close Pleasant View Elementary School after a failed bond and mill levy tax request, and raised teacher pay.
The board’s upcoming agenda includes overseeing the superintendent’s efforts to create a new process for school closures as they continue to deal with budget problems.
The other two board members, Ali Lasell and Amanda Stevens, will be up for re-election in 2019.