Reports show a stark financial contrast in each of the three Jefferson County school board races, with the conservative candidates lagging significantly behind their challengers in the amount of dollars raised, so far.
District 2 candidate Jeff Lamontagne leads all six hopefuls in fundraising, having raked in $39,822 thus far, according to financial reports available through the Secretary of State’s office.
Lamontagne’s cash haul includes small dollar contributions from Democratic state Sen. Jeanne Nicholson of Black Hawk, former Arvada Mayor Vesta Miller, and several Jefferson County Public Schools teachers and staffers.
Lamontage has spent most of the money he has raised so far, but he still has more cash on hand than does his opponent, John Newkirk.
Newkirk — who along with fellow Board of Education candidates Julie Williams and Ken Witt make up the conservative wing of the six hopefuls — has raised $4,255, of which $1,902 has been spent.
Newkirk received $215 from the Wheat Ridge-based Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club. He also received $500 from former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong and $20 from Jeff Shrader, a Republican candidate for next year’s Jefferson County sheriff’s race.
Armstrong and Shrader gave the same amounts to Witt, a District 5 hopeful, who has raised $10,148, of which $7,759 has yet to be spent. Witt also received a $100 donation from Wheat Ridge City Councilman Joseph DeMott.
But Witt’s fundraising is less than a third of the amount that has been raised by his opponent, Gordon “Spud” Van de Water, who has $35,380 and has spent less than $4,000.
Van de Water received money from Nicholson and fellow state lawmaker Rep. Sue Schafer, a Wheat Ridge Democrat, who contributed $90. A $100 contribution was given to Van de Water’s campaign by Democratic state Board of Education member Jane Goff, while $250 was contributed by Ken Fellman, the husband of Jeffco board member Jill Fellman.
Van de Water’s biggest haul came in the amount of $8,166 from the Board of Education Committee, a Denver-based political action group.
The same group kicked in $3,167 to District 1 candidate Tonya Aultman-Bettridge, who has raised $25,017 in her race against Williams.
Aultman-Bettridge’s donors include U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and state Sen. Evie Hudak of Arvada, both of whom are Democrats. Schafer, Miller and Ken Fellman have also contributed to her campaign. Aultman-Bettridge also received $100 each from Tammy Kerr, the wife of state Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood, and from the Jefferson County Democratic Party Latino Initiative.
Fellow candidates are assisting in Aultman-Bettridge’s campaign. Lamontagne gave $25 to her campaign, while Van de Water kicked in $100, a contribution that was reciprocated.
Aultman-Bettridge has $9,258 cash on hand, more than what’s available in Williams’ campaign stash.
Williams, who touts herself as the “conservative choice” in the District 1 race, has raised $5,756, of which only $470 has been spent.
Williams’ contributions are primarily small dollar amounts raised from various individual donors.
Jeffco voters will weigh in on all three county school board races on Nov. 5, regardless of district boundaries.