California’s kids were the big winners on Election Day, as Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and nearly all of CTA’s recommended candidates for state office emerged victorious, with educators playing a pivotal role in making that happen. At the moment though, all eyes are on Tony Thurmond and the Superintendent of Public Instruction election, which is too close to call.
Officials are currently making their way through an estimated 4 million mail and provisional ballots–nearly 1 million in Los Angeles County alone. With only 80,000 votes separating the candidates, these votes will decide the tightly contested race.
“Despite being outspent 2-to-1, with the help of educators and parents, Thurmond stood up for all students and the promise of free public education and made this a very close race,” said CTA President Eric Heins. “We continue to stand with Tony until all ballots are counted.”
While completing that vote count could take days or even weeks, educators did not have to wait deep into Election Night to learn that California will have a governor who supports public schools and opportunity for all students. Newsom was declared the winner shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.
“As educators who care deeply for our students, we stood in unity with Gavin,” Heins said. “His election sends a clear message that in California we care about free public education for all students regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, their gender or their station in life.”
Newsom’s victory topped a long list of state office winners who understand the value of public education: Xavier Becerra will remain California’s Attorney General, Alex Padilla continues as Secretary of State, Betty Yee remains Controller, Fiona Ma won State Treasurer, Malia Cohen was elected for Board of Equalization District 2, and Ricardo Lara is poised to win as Insurance Commissioner. Additionally, voters agreed with educators in rejecting Propositions 5 and 6, which would’ve cut resources for education and transportation, and approving Prop. 4, which will help provide health services to children.
And it wouldn’t be the Year of the Teacher without some of our own CTA educators winning election to school boards from Fallbrook to Fremont, Westminster to West Sacramento and many communities in between. These victories were part of a historic Midterm Election Day across the country, which saw the #RedForEd Movement help flip 290 state legislative seats, elect more than 100 women to U.S. Congress (former Teacher of the Year Jahan Hayes became the first African American woman ever elected to Congress in Connecticut), and switch the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives, which will provide a major check on the power of Betsy DeVos and her effect on public education.
Check back here for the latest news on the vote count for the SPI election. Thurmond said this morning after a grueling campaign that he’s digging in and waiting for every vote.
“The kids of California are in it for the long haul and we are too,” he said. “I’m so proud of the coalition we built and I thank the thousands of educators, students and public education advocates who supported our campaign.”