GOP preps for possibly costly District 51 race
Mesa County Republicans are gearing up for a school board election that may involve stacks of money and more campaigning than any election in county history.
Lois Dunn-Susuras, chair of the local Republican Party, predicted the potential heft of the upcoming election Friday at the group’s monthly luncheon at Two Rivers Convention Center. Dunn-Susuras told meeting attendees the District 51 School Board election may be won or lost based on getting the word out about this year’s candidates through a mailing and walking campaign, particularly Oct. 9 through 16, right before ballots for the Nov. 5 election begin arriving in local mailboxes.
“If we can walk enough and talk enough we’re going to win the election,” she said.
Candidates Pat Kanda in District C, Mike Lowenstein in District D and John Sluder in District E have the backing of the local Republican Party. Dunn-Susuras said the party has “three great candidates” who will face four others: Lonnie White and newly-appointed board member John Williams in District C, Tom Parrish in District D, and current board president Greg Mikolai in District E.
The campaign may take lots of volunteer time and campaign contributions, but “we do feel this is worth it — it’s a very big race we need to win this time,” Dunn-Susuras said. She added the school board campaign may be comparable to recent campaigns to recall state Democratic senators Angela Giron of Pueblo and John Morse of Colorado Springs. Efforts to retain the two senators brought in $3.5 million, while recall supporters chipped in approximately $800,000, she said.
“I was hearing the chatter on the street yesterday, the other side is gearing up,” she said.
Linda Gregory, president of Mesa County Republican Women, said at the meeting more information about school board campaigning would be available at the women’s meeting Oct. 7. She said she has been attending school board meetings and is alarmed that the board seems to feel “everything is OK.”
“Our two need more help,” she said, referring to current board members Ann Tisue and Jeff Leany.