Kiki Traylor, a Republican candidate in Senate District 22, may have some explaining to do. While it is clear she has raised much more money recently than her two party rivals – conservative alternatives Justin Everett and Mike Kopp – one source of funding gives cause to raise some eyebrows among political insiders.
On June 19, the small donor committee for the teachers union – the Colorado Education Association (CEA) – contributed $1,000 to Taylor’s campaign. (To see for yourself…
1. Go to the Secretary of State Campaign Finance page
2. Click “Search Committee Reports”
3. Execute a search for Public Education Committee
4. Scroll down to click on “Data-Entered Reports”
5. Click on the most recent report dated 6/28/06
6. Click on Expenditures)
Interestingly, a similar search of contributions under the committee “Citizens for Kiki Traylor” shows no record of the $1,000 in union funds being received.
Why is this significant? Highly credible sources say that Traylor privately pledged her support for school vouchers to some of the movement’s leaders. On the other hand, CEA is adamantly opposed to vouchers and has not been in the habit of financing candidates who support such aggressive education reforms.
So what gives? Either CEA or the voucher supporters appear to have been duped. If the former, then the union has thrown away good money and a bit of credibility. If the latter, then the union has good reason to believe that Traylor – a candidate without any conservative credentials – could easily be swayed into opposing vouchers and other reforms of which the union does not approve.
Traylor’s options therefore seem quite clear: Either she can keep the $1,000 and show the education reformers she cannot be trusted, or she can make a strong statement by returning the $1,000, which would scarcely harm her fundraising advantage in the safe-district Republican primary.
If she gives the money back, Kiki risks the union actively campaigning against her if she beats Everett and Kopp and faces Democrat underdog Paula Noonan in the general election. If she keeps the money, she has handed a powerful issue to her conservative primary opponents.
Which will it be?