Despite the wrong-headed Colorado statute barring party affiliations from the ballot in local elections, we all know it matters a lot whether any office in the land, high or low, is held by a Democrat or a Republican. Democrats generally favor government solutions, unions, collectivist approaches, taxes and spending. Republicans are more generally skeptical of those things. This can end up making a huge difference.
This year's election that closes on Nov. 1, earlier than usual, will present voters with numerous "Who's that?" moments as no-name candidates parade across the nonpartisan ballot in a season of minimal publicity and low turnouts.
Here's a rundown of the GOP (or school reform) candidates just a few metro-Denver localities. In Aurora, Republicans running for Mayor include businessman Jude Sandvall, Councilman Ryan Frazier, and former councilman Steve Hogan. Sandvall is the only one who opposes the massive taxpayer subsidy to Gaylord Entertainment Corporation. He has my strong support.
In Centennial, where I live, Republicans seeking city council seats include Sharon West in District 1, Craig Klosterman in District 2, Ken Lucas in District 3, and Stephanie Piko in District 4.
In Cherry Creek Schools, my local district, the board election was cancelled for lack of any challengers to the incumbents running again. Pathetic, and evidence of a clever game the insiders play; but that's a discussion for another day.
School board races that are being contested, and with very high stakes for choice, charters, high standards, and pushback against the unions include these: Douglas County - The Republican slate is Justin Williams, Craig Richardson, and Kevin Larsen.
Jefferson County - The Republican slate is Preston Branaugh and Jim Powers.
Denver County - The sole GOP contender is John Daniel, running at large. The reform slate consists of Happy Haynes in the at-large race along with Anne Rowe and Jennifer Draper Carson in the two district races.
Elizabeth - Chip Swan is running against two Democrat-backed candidates.
Adams County, District 12 - Republicans committed to reform include Norm Jennings and Mark Clark. In a third race it's complicated because Richard Ezo, the U candidate, is more of a reformer than Max Willsey, an R who is union-funded. So vote carefully there. Everyone in Adams 12 can vote in all three races.
If your community is not covered in the above listing, it only takes a few quick inquiries by phone, email, or web search to find out who the local Republican candidates are.
Don't vote by guesswork or hearsay. Take the time to find out which team jersey is which, under the generic shirts they're all forced to wear. You will be glad you did!