DENVER — Democrats believe the new culture war in Jefferson County, the state’s most important electoral battleground, just might help them hold on to the party’s one-seat majority in the Colorado senate.
In a new television ad, Colorado Democrats attempt to draw a line between the three conservative Jefferson County School Board members whose effort to square the district’s AP U.S. History curriculum with their idea of “American exceptionalism” has sparked weeks of protest, with four Republican state senate candidates looking to oust Democratic incumbents.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, an initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party, is behind the ad, the most serious effort yet to leverage the ongoing controversy over the Jefferson County School Board into a political advantage in next month’s election.
The group is betting that swing voters in Colorado’s biggest bellwether county will side with the students and teachers who have protested the board’s move — and that linking four GOP senate hopefuls to the conservative board majority could swing these competitive races that are certain to affect the balance of power within the Capitol’s upper chamber come January.
“Jefferson County families are against the extreme Tea Party slate pushing their ideological agenda on families. That’s not how we do things in Colorado, said Andrew Short, the DSCF’s executive director. “They have nationally embarrassed us and they will pay for it in November.”
It’s easy to draw a line from Julie Williams, the board member behind the curriculum review proposal, to one of the candidates — Tim Neville happens to be her brother-in-law.
The other Republican senate candidates in Jefferson County, Laura Woods, Tony Sanchez, and Larry Queen, have also broadly expressed support for conservatives on the board if not Williams’ specific curriculum review proposal.
The TV spot, which will run on cable in Jefferson County, begins with a “pop quiz”, asking viewers to answer where “the censoring of textbooks and rewriting of history recently resulted in public protests.”
The choices: (a) North Korea, (b) Soviet Russia or (c) Jefferson County.
“Tea Party extremists embarrassed us,” a female narrator says.
The ad then explains that Williams is “behind these Tea Party candidates”, literally drawing a line from her picture to pictures of the four GOP state senate candidates.
“Let’s stop Julie Williams’ radical agenda before it spreads to the state senate,” the narrator says as the ad concludes.
“We stand on the side of students, parents, and teachers – and against the extreme Tea Party agenda. This isn’t about party politics. This is about what is right. The Tea Party won all the Jefferson County primaries last June and is now pushing their ideological agenda on Jefferson County families. This will not be accepted by middle of the road, Jefferson County voters,” said Short.