Jeffco Board of Education incumbents prove victorious

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Unofficial results show incumbents Brad Rupert and Susan Harmon winning the two contested races on the Jefferson County Board of Education.

Incumbent Ron Mitchell is running unopposed for the third seat up for re-election to the five-member board.

The three incumbents, who were elected following the recall of the board majority in 2015, sought to maintain the seats they secured during a special election after the recall. Two challengers, supported by the Jefferson County Republicans, were looking to disrupt new board majority.

In the last general election with board of education candidates in 2015, 155,000 voters turned in ballots. As of 9 a.m. Nov. 8, all votes are reported counted in Jefferson and Adams Counties with almost 123,000 votes cast.

The following are unofficial results as reported by the Colorado Secretary of State's office.

District 1

Brad Rupert: 60.47 percent

Matt Van Gieson: 39.53 percent

Rupert beat Van Gieson to maintain his seat on the board for District 1, which covers the north and northeast portion of the county. Rupert is an attorney in Arvada and has lived in Jefferson County for 34 years. 

“I’m really excited,” Rupert said, at a watch party held at Applewood Golf Course Tuesday night. “It’s a community effort. It’s not about me, it’s not about Susan or Ron, it’s about the kids and a community that cares deeply about it’s schools and wants to maintain that.” 

Van Gieson, a systems analyst and project manager, said he was proud of how the race was run.

“Myself and my competitor, I think we were fair to each other and didn’t sink to any of the depth people were afraid of,” Van Gieson said, adding that he is disappointed in the results of the election thus far.

But, Van Gieson said he is not going anywhere.

“Tomorrow, I’m still the dad of a second-grader and a kindergartner,” he said. “I’m still going to be invested.”

District 2

Susan Harmon: 59.63 percent

Erica Shields: 40.37 percent

Harmon beat Shields to maintain her seat on the board. Harmon, an attorney in Jefferson County, said she is very excited to continue on the board for the next four years representing District 2, which covers the westernmost part of the county.

“It’s been a long couple months and you never know how it’s gonna go,” Harmon said. “So, I’m looking forward to reengaging on the board.”

Shields, who has worked worked as a substitute teacher, a pediatric cancer researcher and a personal fitness health adviser, said running for office was a great experience and she will continue to be involved in the district.

“Susan Harmon was a great opponent and it’s not over for us,” Shields said. “We’re going to keep doing what we can to make a difference in education. We plan on getting more involved and making sure the school board is engaged in the community.”

District 5

Unopposed incumbent Ron Mitchell has 100 percent of the vote, with 86,821 votes cast. Mitchell, a retired high school administrator, will serve another four years on the board.

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