In two of the last state legislative races to be called, fewer than 400 votes made all the difference for the teachers who were running for office.
Christine Marsh, the 2016 Arizona teacher of the year, lost her race by 267 votes. In Illinois, Mary Edly-Allen, a teacher of English-language learners, won by 373 votes. Both candidates are Democrats. The results were announced early this week.
The conclusion of the two races brings Education Week’s final count to 43 current K-12 teachers who were elected to their state legislatures this year. At least 177 teachers ran, with 120 competing in the general election.
In Arizona, Marsh was defeated by Republican state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee. This was the first time running for Marsh, a high school English teacher. She decided to run last year, well before the week-long walkout that took place in the state this spring, during which teachers protested low pay and cuts to school funding. Marsh ran on a platform that centered around investing in public education—smaller class sizes were one of her main goals.
In a Facebook post on Monday after the race was called for Brophy McGee, Marsh wrote that she had wanted to represent students across Arizona in the state Capitol.
“It wasn’t easy, teaching full-time and running for office,” she wrote, thanking her supporters. “I know you supported me because you believe as I do, that Arizona’s first priority must be our kids—their safety, their health, their education, and their opportunities to be successful in life.”
She finished by calling on her supporters “to be the voice for public education.”
Marsh was one of seven teachers who ran in Arizona. Only one of those teachers won—Republican state Rep. Michelle Udall, a high school math teacher, who was re-elected.
Meanwhile, in Illinois, Edly-Allen defeated Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh, who had been appointed to the seat this year to replace a representative who resigned amid a sex scandal.
According to the Daily Herald, Edly-Allen’s priorities in office are to reform the property-tax system, defend health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and “demand safe classrooms for our children.”
For more coverage of the teachers who ran for office in 2018, see:
- Teachers Running for Office: A Roundup of Who Won and Lost
- Teachers Who Ran for Office: Fired-Up Political Newcomers or Incumbents?
- Dozens of Teachers Were Elected to State Office. Many More Fell Short
- Teachers Running for Office Face Tough Choice: Go Negative or Not?
- What Newly Elected Teachers Should Do Next (Opinion)
Image via Getty
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.