School board deep dives – let’s start in Colorado

Welcome to the Tuesday, October 3, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott & Joseph Greaney

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Seven candidates running for three districts on Douglas County school board in Colorado
  2. 37 states have confirmed both their 2024 statewide and presidential primaries 
  3. 51 candidates filed for federal and statewide offices last week

Seven candidates running for three districts on Douglas County school board in Colorado

On Nov. 7, Ballotpedia will cover school board elections in 16 states—including all school board elections in seven of them – Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. 

Thousands of school board members will be elected in races across the country. Over the next month, we’ll bring you in-depth coverage of upcoming school board races we’ve identified as battlegrounds—those we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power on each board or to be particularly competitive or compelling. For an overview of Ballotpedia’s school board coverage this year, click here.

Let’s kick things off with elections in the Douglas County School District, just south of Denver, Colorado. 

Heading into the election, the Douglas County Board of Education has a 5-2 conservative majority. Four members of the conservative majority were elected as part of a slate in November 2021. According to Chalkbeat Colorado’s Eric Meltzer, “a slate of challengers who ran against mask mandates, critical race theory, and aspects of the district’s sexual education curriculum won handily over two incumbents and their allies.” 

The board’s two liberal members, Susan Meek and David Ray, hold two of the seats up for election this year. Conservative member Jason Page holds the third.

Seven candidates are running for Districts A, C, and F. The district had approximately 63,000 students as of the 2020-21 school year. 

  • Incumbent Meek, first elected in 2019, and Andy Jones are running in District A.
  • Incumbent Page, David DiCarlo, and Brad Geiger are running in District C. Geiger completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. The school board appointed Page to the office in June 2023 to replace former Board member Elizabeth Hanson. Hanson resigned during a school board meeting in May while the district debated revisions to its equity policy.
  • Maria Sumnicht and Valerie Thompson are running in District F. Incumbent Ray is term-limited.

Candidates must live in the district they represent, but every voter in the school district votes in every race, as if each is an at-large election. As of 2022, 73% of the school districts in Colorado elected their school board members at large, while 21% elected their members by sub-district, and the remaining 6% elected their members through a combination of both.

Jones, Page, and Sumnicht are running as the “Best DCSD” slate of candidates that aligns with the existing conservative majority. On the slate’s website, the candidates say they “are passionate about our public school district and everything we do will focus on academic excellence and alternative pathways to student success.”

The other four candidates are not running as part of a slate. DiCarlo said his focus is on preventing school tax increases. Geiger said he was running “to help the board work together to address…important concerns without rancor and avoiding outside political influence.” Meek said her top priorities were supporting “safe and welcoming schools, stable teaching and learning environments, locally-driven innovation, and equitable learning opportunities.” Thompson said she was running “to provide stability for our district through informed decision-making, following processes and protocols, and operating in a manner that welcomes an engaged community.”

Click here to read summaries of the candidates’ key messages. 

Ray, the term-limited member of the board’s minority, endorsed a candidate in each race (Meek, Geiger, and Thompson). 

The elections follow two noteworthy events. In February 2022, the Board voted 4-3 to terminate the contract of former superintendent Corey Wise, which resulted in a $830,000 settlement. Wise claimed the Board targeted him because he supported a district mask mandate during the pandemic. In spring 2021, amid delays in returns to in-person instruction for grades 6-12, members of the Board’s liberal minority were targeted in unsuccessful recall attempts. 

Click below to read more about this election, and make sure to be on the lookout for more in-depth coverage of select school board election in the coming weeks. 

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37 states have confirmed both their 2024 statewide and presidential primaries 

Last May, we brought you an update on 2024 statewide and presidential primary dates. Here’s the latest information on which states have—and have not—decided when their primaries will happen. 

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have confirmed the dates for their 2024 statewide primaries through the release of an official election calendar or candidate filing instructions. Separately, 40 states have confirmed the date for at least one presidential nominating contest. 

Some states schedule their presidential primaries at the same time as statewide primaries for other offices, while other states hold elections on separate dates. 

So far, 16 states that have confirmed their statewide and presidential primaries have scheduled both for the same date. 

Iowa has confirmed the earliest presidential nominating contest with Republicans in the state holding presidential caucuses on Jan. 15. South Carolina’s Democratic Party has confirmed the earliest presidential primaries on Feb. 3, though New Hampshire, which has traditionally gone first, has opposed this change. Last winter, when the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted to make South Carolina’s primary the first in the country, the New Hampshire Legislature attempted to place a constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot that would direct the secretary of state to “ensure that the presidential primary election be held seven or more days immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election.” On Sept. 14, the DNC voted to give New Hampshire until Oct. 14 to comply with its calendar. 

So far, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota share the latest confirmed presidential primary, on June 4.

Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas will all share the earliest 2024 statewide primary date, which is March 5 (Super Tuesday!). Louisiana will hold the latest statewide primary on Nov. 5 due to its unique majority-vote system

The following states and parties have not publicly confirmed their presidential primary dates:

  • Alaska Republicans
  • Connecticut 
  • Iowa Democrats
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

The following states have not publicly confirmed their statewide primary dates:

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah

Candidates must meet a variety of state-specific filing requirements and deadlines to run. These regulations, known as ballot access laws, may include collecting petition signatures, paying filing fees, or both. 

Filing deadlines for major party and unaffiliated statewide candidates in 2024 will occur between November 2023 and September 2024, with Alabama on Nov. 10 and both Delaware and North Dakota on Sep. 3. Filing deadlines for major party and unaffiliated presidential candidates in 2024 will occur between October 2023 and September 2024 with Nevada on Oct. 16 and Kentucky on Sep. 6. 

Click below to read more about 2024 election dates.

Keep reading 

51 candidates filed for congressional and statewide offices last week

Fifty-one people declared as candidates for congresisonal or statewide offices in the past week, three fewer than last week. That’s down from 54 during the preceding week. Since the start of the year, we’ve found an average of 47 candidate filings per week.

Since the beginning of the year, Ballotpedia has identified 1,846 declared candidates for congressional and statewide offices. At this time in 2021, Ballotpedia had identified 2,092 declared candidates for 2022, 2023, and 2024 races.

Of last week’s declared candidates:

  • 22 are Democrats;
  • 26 are Republicans; and,
  • three are minor party candidates.

All of these candidates declared before their state’s official filing deadline.

Twenty candidates are running for Congress, 26 for state legislatures, two for governorship, two for state supreme court positions, and one for a state executive office. 

Here’s a look at where those House candidates filed:

An official candidate is someone who registers with a federal or state campaign finance agency before the candidate filing deadline or appears on government election agency released candidate lists. A declared candidate is someone who has not completed the steps to become an official candidate but who might have done one or more of the following:

  1. Appeared in candidate forums or debates
  2. Published a campaign website
  3. Published campaign social media pages
  4. Advertised online, on television, or through print
  5. Issued press releases
  6. Interviewed with media publications

For more on Ballotpedia’s definition of candidacy, click here.