Thousands of school board members will be elected in races across the country on Nov. 7. Over the past few weeks, we’ve brought you in-depth coverage of elections across the country—including in Douglas County School District andhttps://ballotpedia.org/Woodland_Park_School_District,_Colorado,_elections_(2023)”> Woodland Park School District in Colorado, the Central Bucks School District outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Richland School District in Benton County, Washington, the Anoka-Hennepin County school board races in Minnesota, and Wichita Public Schools in Kansas. Today we keep our attention to Kansas.
Ten candidates are running in the general election for the Leavenworth Unified School District 453 school board in Leavenworth County, Kansas, on Nov. 7. School board members in Kansas are nonpartisan and serve four-year staggered terms. In Leavenworth USD 453, board members are elected at-large. Four of seven school board seats are up for election, and voters can choose for up to four candidates on their ballots.
The district had approximately 3,695 students during the 2021-2022 school year and overlaps three state House of Representatives districts, 38, 40, and 41.
There are two slates that have each fielded four candidates. Two additional candidates on the ballot are not running on either slate.
Incumbent John Goodman, Deborah Brown, Jason Claire, and Karen G. Overbey are running on one of the slates. Their campaign priorities include: maintaining a flat property tax, academic achievement, parental rights, fiscal transparency, and politically neutral classrooms. State Rep. Pat Proctor (R) and incumbent school board member Vanessa Reid said they would vote for each member of this slate.
Incumbent Judi Price, incumbent Dannielle Wells, George A. Johnson, and Jessica Wilson are running on the other slate. Their campaign priorities include: student success and well-being, promoting university and trade school pathways, parent-school board partnerships, academic achievement, and student-centered decision making. Game on for Kansas Schools, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for high-quality public education, endorsed the slate.
Two other candidates, Douglas A. Darling and Ronald S. Grossman, are not part of either slate. Darling said he wants to ensure the district receives funding that would help staff and students achieve success. Grossman said his campaign priorities include: voting socialists off the school board, ensuring parental rights, reducing truancy rates, ending driver’s education, installing cameras in schools, and decertifying the teachers’ union.
Representative Proctor’s involvement in the school district, and an effort to recall board member Vanessa Reid, have been central issues in the campaign. In early 2023, Rep. Proctor visited a library in the school district and took photos of students’ artwork from an assignment on who was welcome in the library. Proctor shared one of those photos, which featured a rainbow flag, in hisFebruary newsletter. “It was clear that the school library was doing more indoctrinating than educating,” Proctor wrote. “I am proud to stand with Conservative School Board Member Vanessa Reid in her fight to protect our kids’ from the radical woke agenda that threatens Leavenworth Schools.”
Courtney Ricard, the parent of the student whose artwork appeared in Proctor’s newsletter, initiated the recall, saying, “My child’s artwork was used without consent. … I think [Reid] betrayed the students of Leavenworth by allowing this to happen.” Reid said, “As a lifetime resident of this wonderful city, I love all of our students. I will not be distracted by deliberate attempts by a few who have taken it upon themselves to launch a campaign of misrepresentation and character assassination over a difference of perspective on topics that are under debate nationwide.”
The recall effort did not make the ballot. In Kansas, recall supporters have 90 days to collect signatures equal to 40% of votes cast for the office in the last election. Recall supporters did not file any signatures by the July 24, 2023, deadline.
Beshear’s campaign outspends Cameron’s 4-1 ahead of the Nov. 7 Kentucky gubernatorial election
According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed on Oct. 25. incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) campaign had raised nearly three times and spent more than four times the money Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) had raised and spent since the May 16 primaries.
Beshear has raised around $11 million since the May 16 primaries. Beshear, who did not face a competitive primary, also rolled nearly $6 million from his primary campaign to his general election effort, bringing his campaign’s fundraising total in the general election to $17.3 million. These figures do not include “in-kind” contributions.
Cameron, meanwhile, had raised $3.8 million since he won the competitive Republican primary back in May, reports showed. That number included around $15,000 Cameron rolled from his primary campaign.
Beshear’s campaign spent nearly $2.1 million in the two-week period leading to Oct. 23, while Cameron’s spent $1 million. Those numbers brought Beshear’s total expenditures to $16.7 million since the general election campaign began, more than four times the $3.4 million Cameron spent in that timespan.
After expenditures, the Beshear campaign had cash on hand of $670,000 as of Oct. 23, while the Cameron campaign had cash on hand of $425,000.
Including primary spending, Kentucky’s gubernatorial candidates had collectively raised more than $41M as of Sept. 28, more than any other gubernatorial election in Kentucky history, according to OpenSecrets. The number (which includes amounts raised by primary candidates who did not advance to the general election) is more than $4 million higher than the previous record of $37 million set in 2007.
This race is one of two gubernatorial elections on the ballot across the country on Nov. 7. Mississippi voters will also choose a governor, you can read more about that race here. Republicans currently control 26 governor’s offices, while Democrats control 24. Republicans will control one additional governor’s office once Jeff Landry (R), who won election to become Louisiana’s governor on Oct. 14th, is sworn in.
Five state financial officers are on the ballot in November 2023
Among the statewide offices up for election this year are five officials responsible for government finances and financial oversight. State treasurer races will be decided in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, while two state auditor positions will be decided in Kentucky and Louisiana. Republicans currently hold all five positions. These officials collectively make up what are called state financial officers (SFOs). There are 105 such positions nationwide.
In addition to the five SFOs listed above, Virginia’s Auditor of Public Accounts will also be determined this year. Unlike the other officers discussed here, it is not the voters but the General Assembly who fills this position.
Different states have different names for these elected officials, but they all fall into three groups: treasurers, auditors, and controllers. Broadly, these officials are responsible for things like auditing other government offices, managing payroll, and overseeing pensions. In some states, certain SFOs are also responsible for investing state retirement and trust funds, meaning they get to decide where that public money goes.
On Nov. 8, 2022, voters either directly or indirectly decided who would control 68 of the 105 state financial officerships nationwide (65%). During those elections, there was a net change in control of +4 for Republicans, -3 for Democrats, and -1 for states with split partisan control of offices.
Looking ahead, 17 SFOs will be on the ballot in 2024, while appointing authority over another 13 SFOs will also be determined in next year’s elections.
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