States

GOP Runoff in Ga. Chief’s Race Heads to Recount; Union-Backed Democrat Wins

By Andrew Ujifusa — July 23, 2014 1 min read

The Georgia Democrat backed by the two teachers’ unions in the state won her primary runoff for state superintendent Tuesday. But it appears it will take a bit longer to decide the winner of the GOP runoff for the Peach State’s top K-12 job.

Valarie Wilson, the former head of the state school boards association, beat her opponent in the July 22 Democratic primary, state Rep. Alisha Morgan, by 8 percentage points (54 percent to 46 percent) according to returns published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The paper reports that Morgan may have hurt her candidacy among Democratic voters through her support for a bill giving the state power to authorize charter schools back in 2012. On July 21, I profiled the two Democrats in the state superintendent’s race, along with state Sen. Jason Carter, a candidate for U.S. Senate, and mentioned Morgan’s support for the charter legislation.

Generally speaking, Wilson appealed to the more traditional Democratic policies on K-12, while Morgan was a proponent of school choice and focused more attention on teacher quality.

So who will Wilson face in the Nov. 4 general election? It’s not clear yet, because the primary runoff on the Republican side hasn’t produced a clear winner. Richard Woods, a former teacher who’s based his candidacy on opposition to the Common Core State Standards, had a slight lead over Michael Buck, the current state deputy superintendent, but a recount appears to be on the way. As of Wednesday morning, Woods had a roughly 730-vote lead on Buck with about 397,000 votes cast.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.