The 2014 midterm elections will go down in history as the election cycle in which parents rose up in support of educational choice and unions flunked the grade. According to the American Federation for Children, prominent pro-educational choice gubernatorial candidates including OK Gov. Mary Fallin were elected and re-elected across the country.
“There is an education revolution underway in this country, and yesterday parents rose up and embraced candidates who support educational choice,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice. “On behalf of children in need of quality educational options everywhere, I want to especially recognize Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. John Kasich, and Gov. Rick Scott on their tremendous victories and congratulate the hundreds of pro-educational choice candidates nationwide who stood for principle and belief that parents know best.”
More than any election cycle in recent years, the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions nationalized their message, gambling $80 million to bankroll the educational status quo in elections this cycle. This figure does not include spending by state teachers’ unions, such as the Alabama Education Association, which spent $12 million this cycle. In contrast, the American Federation for Children and its affiliated state PACs spent $4.5 million.
“Our movement is truly in a David-and-Goliath match-up in terms of spending, but what we lack in dollars, our movement makes up for in robust support from parents nationwide,” said Kevin Chavous, Executive Counsel to the American Federation for Children.
Tonight’s results demonstrate the power of parental choice and how voters rallied around candidates who support educational choice.
• Florida: School choice very well became the wedge issue that helped Gov. Rick Scott edge Charlie Crist after Crist flip-flopped and opposed the program that helps nearly 70,000 children from low-income families.
• Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker campaigned on expanding the state’s popular statewide educational choice program and voters reacted positively in a strong way.
• Alabama: The Alabama Federation for Children PAC was outspent by the Alabama Education Association by a 27:1 ratio, yet all 13 AFC-supported candidates won their respective races for the state legislature.
• Other key gubernatorial races: Gov. Nathan Deal (GA), Gov. Bill Haslam (TN), Gov. Sam Brownback (KS), Gov. Mary Fallin (OK), Gov. Nikki Haley (SC), Governor-elect Doug Ducey (AZ), Governor-elect Bill Rauner (IL) – all are declared supporters of educational choice.
• Prominent pro-educational choice Democrats prevail: Former Alliance for School Choice board member Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was re-elected to a full term, and Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, a supporter of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, was elected as mayor of Washington, DC.
• North Carolina: NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis was elected to the U.S. Senate. Tillis was attacked for helping to create North Carolina’s new opportunity scholarship (voucher) program.