Teacher Union-Funded vs. Reformer-Funded: Interesting Colorado Races

Last week I highlighted the political giving of Colorado education-related groups, making several observations. Among them was the fact that none of the groups — not even the pro-reform **Stand for Children small donor committee — had supported a single Republican candidate.

But I wrote too soon. They just hadn’t reported it yet. An Ed News Colorado story today highlights that Stand for Children has backed some of its Republican (and other) endorsements with campaign cash:

The group gave $4,000 each to House District 38 Democratic incumbent Joe Rice, House 47 Republican candidate Keith Swerdfeger, House 56 Democratic incumbent Christine Scanlan and Senate District 11 Democratic incumbent John Morse.

Contributions of $3,000 apiece went to House District 3 Republican candidate Christine Mastin, District 42 Democratic candidate Christine Fields and Senate District 6 candidate Ellen Roberts.

The group gave $2,000 to Republican incumbent Kevin Priola in House District 30 and $1,000 to Democrat-turned-independent Kathleen Curry in House 61, an incumbent who’s running a write-in campaign.

Stand for Children’s funding of Republican candidates puts them head-to-head with union-backed Democratic candidates in four state legislative races. Here’s the breakdown with respective funding from the education reformers vs. funding from the teachers unions (updated from the latest campaign finance reports):

  • Keith Swerdfeger (R) $4,000 vs. Carole Partin (D) $20,400
  • Ellen Roberts (R) $3,000 vs. Sen. Bruce Whitehead (D) $6,150
  • Christine Mastin (R) $3,000 vs. Rep. Daniel Kagan (D) $3,000
  • Rep. Kevin Priola (R) $2,000 vs. Laura Huerta (D) $11,550

The results of each of these head-to-head showdowns will be worth noting. Perhaps even more interesting will be to watch the electoral fates of the Democratic legislative candidates who have received money from both the teachers unions and the education reformers:

  • Sen. John Morse ($8,150 unions vs. $4,000 reformers)
  • Rep. Joe Rice ($500 AFT only vs. $4,000 reformers)
  • Rhonda Fields ($2,775 unions vs. $3,000 reformers)

CEA used to give Joe Rice lots of money, before he voted for SB 191. Same for Democrat-turned-independent Rep. Kathleen Curry, who picked up $1,000 from Stand for Children but also lost AFT financial support after ditching her party status.

** I agree with Stand for Children on many more education issues than I do with the CEA, for example, but their reform perspective is definitely more moderate than my own and they support more government tax and spending on education than I am comfortable with backing.

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