Preview of Competitive State Elections

With Election Day just around the corner, below are some gubernatorial races, state education chief contests, and education ballot initiatives to watch. Remember, like politics, education is local. Check out the tables below to see what’s at play in your state.

Be sure to vote November 4!

Gubernatorial Races to Watch

State Incumbent Challenger Rating * Major education issues
Colorado John Hickenlooper (D) Bob Beauprez (R) Toss-up Higher education funding, college affordability, school choice, Common Core
Connecticut Dan Malloy (D) Tom Foley (R) Toss-up Education funding, school accountability, charter schools, Common Core
Florida Rick Scott (R) Charlie Crist (D) Toss-up College affordability, higher education funding
Georgia Nathan Deal (R) Jason Carter (D) Leans Republican Common Core, school vouchers, higher education funding
Illinois Pat Quinn (D) Bruce Rauner (R) Toss-up Teacher retirement benefits, school vouchers, merit pay, charter schools, college affordability
Kansas Sam Brownback (R) Paul Davis (D) Toss-up School funding, Common Core
Maine Paul LePage (R) Mike Michaud (D) Leans Democratic Early childhood education funding, school vouchers, college affordability
Wisconsin Scott Walker (R) Mary Burke (D) Leans Republican School vouchers, Common Core, higher education funding

* Rating according to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

State Education Chiefs Races to Watch

State Incumbent Challenger Major education issues
Arizona Diane Douglas (R), David Garcia (D) Common Core, school accountability
California Tom Torlakson (D) Marshall Tuck (D) Class size, arts curriculum, aligning K-12 and higher education, charter schools, teacher tenure
Georgia Valarie Wilson (D), Richard Woods (R) Teacher evaluations, Common Core, school funding
Idaho Jana Jones (D), Sherri Ybarra (R) Common Core, school accountability
Oklahoma John Cox (D), Joy Hofmeister (R) Common Core, charter schools
South Carolina Molly Spearman (R), Tom Thompson (D) Workforce readiness, Common Core
Wyoming Jillian Balow (R), Mike Ceballos (D) School accountability, Common Core

Education Ballot Initiatives to Watch

State Ballot initiative Background Link to ballot initiative
Missouri Missouri Teacher Performance Evaluation, Amendment 3 The measure would implement teacher performance evaluations that include students’ standardized test scores in making promotion, demotion, and layoff decisions. Missouri Teacher Performance Evaluation, Amendment 3 (2014)
North Dakota North Dakota Commission of Higher Education Amendment, Measure 3 The amendment would eliminate the eight-member board of higher education and create a governor-appointed three-member commission of higher education to oversee and administer all public higher education in the state. North Dakota Commission of Higher Education Amendment, Measure 3 (2014)
Oregon Measure 86/Opportunity Initiative The measure would authorize the state to exceed its debt limits and issue bonds to endow a financial aid fund for residents pursuing postsecondary education and career training. Opportunity Initiative
Washington Initiative 1351 The measure would require the legislature to increase funding to reduce class size for K-12. For grades K-3, class size would be capped at 17 students. In grades 4-12, no more than 25 students would be allowed in each class. Washington Class Size Reduction Measure, Initiative 1351 (2014)

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Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations