DENTON—In an apparent violation of state laws against public employees electioneering with taxpayer funds, a Denton Independent School District principal emailed employees encouraging them to vote in the Republican primary election, decrying school choice, and promising “coverage” at work for them to vote.

This latest email—sent to all staff at Borman Elementary by its Principal Jesus Lujan—was sent to Texas Scorecard following reports of another Denton ISD administrator—Lujan’s wife Lindsay—engaging in similar tactics on the taxpayers’ dime. 

The Texas Election Code prohibits public employees from using public resources to electioneer, while the Texas Penal Code prohibits voter coercion. Both offenses are Class A misdemeanors. 

In a 2018 opinion about the Texas Election Code, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote that school districts are a “political subdivision” and therefore, under the code’s provision that states “[a]n officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.”

Like his wife’s email, Mr. Lujan’s email tells employees that the district “will provide coverage for ALL Borman employees to go and vote in the Texas Republican Primary. Our goal is 100% of Borman employees voting, because it is THAT important!” 

In response to the original email, Paxton wrote, “This constitutes illegal electioneering under the election code, which is completely unacceptable. It is a criminal offense for an officer or employee of a school district to knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.” 

Jesus Lujan’s email went on to include the following: 

Voting in Republican Primaries is especially important because the votes cast in primaries inform issues that the party will prioritize. Since TX tends to always elect a Republican, we want to inform the party through our primary votes which issues we care about the most and how we feel about them. Thus, vote for candidates who support public education and school funding in the Republican primaries, no matter what your party affiliation is, Republican or Democrat. Consider thinking from a “purple” mindset in future elections, voting for the candidate that will support public ed and funding in the future, despite their party affiliation.

“Please know that historically, 85% of PRIMARY voters in TX want vouchers,” highlighted Lujan. “That’s why it is so important that teachers and public school and funding advocates show up in the primaries.” 

In addition to the email, Lujan texted Borman’s “Team Leaders” chat and included a sample ballot with anti-school choice Republicans marked. 

The Texas Attorney General’s Office has emphasized concern over electioneering in schools in recent elections, encouraging those who see potential violations to report them. The AG’s office recently set up a complaint form specifically for school electioneering. 

However, Paxton highlighted in regards to Lindsay Lujan’s email that “[u]nfortunately, the Court of Criminal Appeals incorrectly decided that the Texas Attorney General cannot prosecute criminal election offenses, Dade Phelan and the Republican House refused to fix this issue during session. This means my office cannot criminally prosecute this type of activity or even largescale voter fraud that changes the outcome of elections in this state.”

He was refering to a 2021 decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals took the power to prosecute election fraud out of the state attorney general’s hands, which has become a major issue in the Republican primary election for three of the court’s seats.

Texans regularly report electioneering by school officials, but no one, including the attorney general, has ever criminally prosecuted a Texas school official for electioneering. 

Texas Scorecard sent questions regarding the email and texts to Denton ISD but did not receive a response before publication. 

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.