EDlection2018: Arizona Superintendent Race Between Charter Advocate and Public School Educator Remains Too Close to Call
EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.
The Arizona superintendent’s race between a charter school proponent and public school educator remained too close to call late Wednesday afternoon.
Republican Frank Riggs has a less than 1 percent lead over Kathy Hoffman, a speech pathologist and former preschool teacher. ABC15 Arizona election results show Riggs fewer than 7,000 votes ahead.
Arizona is still counting nearly 650,000 votes statewide as of Wednesday, the Arizona Republic reported — which “could swing major races” like the superintendent’s race.
Hoffman tweeted Wednesday to her supporters that, “There are still votes left to count, and I want every voice for public education to be heard.”
What a night! There are still votes left to count, and I want every voice for public education to be heard. We’ll keep you updated, but first I want to say thank you to everyone who knocked on doors & made calls for #TeamHoffman. We’re in it until the last ballot is counted! pic.twitter.com/jWWNoQEhZQ
— Kathy Hoffman for Superintendent (@kathyhoffman_az) November 7, 2018
The state superintendent of public instruction oversees all Arizona public and charter schools, and is a member of the Arizona Board of Education. It is largely a bully pulpit for influencing education policy.
Throughout the campaign, Riggs touted his deep ties to the charter school sector: As a former California congressman, he penned the Charter School Expansion Act in 1998 to allocate federal startup grants to newly formed charter schools. He’s also the founding board president of Arizona Connections Academy — a statewide, online K-12 charter school.
But that doesn’t mean he plans on shying away from critical oversight of charter schools. “You need to police your sector, and you need to call out your bad actors,” he told the Phoenix New Times. “Because if you don’t, you’re going to get regulation.”
Charter schools are part of the rich educational diversity and robust parental school choice we have in Arizona. We should pride ourselves on that. If I’m entrusted with the office of Supt. of Public Instruction, I will champion both good district schools,…
— Frank Riggs (@RiggsforAZ) October 30, 2018
Meanwhile, Hoffman — like other educators this election cycle — capitalized on the momentum of this year’s #RedForEd movement, which spurred a weeklong Arizona teacher strike in late April. (Riggs opposed the strike; Hoffman participated.)
At least half of the 12 teacher candidates The 74 interviewed before Election Day have lost their races. Read more on our liveblog.
Whoever wins will replace Republican Diane Douglas, whom Riggs beat in the primaries.
EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.Submit a Letter to the Editor