KUSA-Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is wading into a local school board election.
As 9NEWS has reported, Douglas County's school board is at the center of a contentious battle over conservative reforms being implemented by current board members.
In an email titled "The Cavalry is Coming," Gessler announced he plans to help defend the four conservatives up for re-election.
"I've ordered my campaign for Governor to shift focus for the next week until the Douglas County elections, to ensure that conservatives are victorious this year," the email read.
This announcement prompted a series of emails to 9NEWS from opponents of the conservative candidates who are upset that that Gessler would get involved.
They accuse Gessler of a conflict of interest because his office oversees elections.
They also question whether Gessler is misusing funds from his gubernatorial campaign because his email stated "we also have paid opportunities" to help re-elect the conservatives.
Elected officials are not generally barred from advocating political causes. For example, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) has publicly endorsed both Proposition AA and Amendment 66 on this year's statewide ballot.
Gessler tells 9NEWS that no support whatsoever is coming from the Secretary of State's office, only from his gubernatorial campaign.
Even then, the Gessler campaign is not making a direct contribution of money or its paid staff to the effort.
Gessler clarified to 9NEWS that the paid opportunities mentioned in his email would be funded by groups aligned with the conservative slate of school board candidates, not by his campaign.
The same goes for Gessler's campaign staffers, who will stop working to elect Gessler for the next week and work for supporters of the conservative Douglas County School Board members instead.
"My campaign is not paying their salary and I am not personally paying for them," said Gessler. "It's more about putting my name behind it. Obviously it hurts my campaign a little, because they are not doing work for me."
Supporters of the four school board challengers decried the attention from out of the area.
"Given the lack of local support, people outside of Douglas County are now being recruited and paid to come into Douglas County to influence this election," read an email from a group called Douglas County Parents, which supports the challengers.
Gessler shot back that he feels the changes implemented by the conservative board members are very important to him.
"Obviously the unions are worried we're going to make a difference, and they should be," said Gessler.
The Douglas County Federation, a teachers union, has endorsed the four school board challengers, though the challengers say they are mounting an independent effort to change the direction of the school board.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)