Downballot Nailbiter

There was one set of contests on the Georgia ballot yesterday of slightly more than symbolic interest: School Superintendent runoffs in both parties that represented real choices of philosophy.

On the Democratic side, Valarie Wilson, former School Board Association president and the overwhelming choice of the professional educator community (it’s really hard to call them “teachers unions” in GA, since they have no collective bargaining rights) defeated state legislator Alisha Morgan, a big charter public school proponent, by a comfortable but not overwhelming margin. Both candidates supported implementation of Common Core standards.

But keeping versus getting rid of Common Core was the big dividing issue in the GOP runoff, and when all precincts had reported, Common Core opponent Richard Woods had edged former school administrator Mike Buck by about 700 votes. That’s within Georgia’s “right-to-a-recount” margin, so this could drag on. An ultimate Woods victory could go a long way towards pushing Georgia from being a wobbly Common Core state (despite former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s big national role in the initiative) to a defector, at a very sensitive time.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.