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One of four candidates drops out of southeast Denver school board race

One of four candidates running to represent southeast Denver on the school board has dropped out of the race after not winning the endorsement of the Denver teachers union.

Kristi Leech posted a statement Thursday on her campaign’s Facebook page.

Kristi Leech

Kristi Leech

“After careful consideration, I have decided to end my 2019 campaign for DPS school board in District 1,” she wrote. “It does not feel right in my heart to go against the teachers union, especially when the teachers are one of the main reasons I jumped into this race to begin with!”

Leech is a nurse who left her job to help provide more support in school for her oldest son, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Politically, she aligned herself with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and other community groups that want to “flip the board” in November and change the direction of Denver Public Schools.

The contest to replace outgoing board President Anne Rowe, who currently holds the southeast seat, was the most crowded of this fall’s school board races with four candidates: Leech, Scott Baldermann, Radhika Nath, and Diana Romero Campbell. Baldermann and Nath have said they also strongly identify with the “flip the board” movement.

Earlier this week, the teachers union endorsed Baldermann, a father of two who previously served as president of the parent-teacher association at his children’s school and helped raise money for teachers who participated in a three-day strike in February.

Leech said she is throwing her support behind Baldermann, who she has gotten to know well over the past few months of campaigning.

“What I have learned during all of these encounters is that Scott cares deeply about ensuring that students, teachers, and school staff receive the support and resources they need to succeed,” she wrote. “He is also very knowledgeable about the financial challenges within DPS, and he has the business background to understand their complexity.”

Leech had raised the least money of the four candidates in the southeast race. As of June 26, the final day of the last campaign finance reporting period, she had raised $261. Baldermann had raised $10,785, most of which he contributed himself.