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Did We Win? It depends on who you ask.

On Tuesday June 20, Virginians went to the polls in the preliminary stage of electing a new legislature. There are 140 seats in the Virginia legislature: all are up for election in November. Of those 47 were on the ballot Tuesday. Thirty-one were Democratic and sixteen were Republican. A large number of the state’s local school board and county board races are also in play this year, but most of those are happening in other non-partisan selection processes.

Trying to make sense of the many reports covering the Virginia primaries is like coming into a competitive ball game in the 4th inning. Lots of people want to predict who will win in the end and make sense of the first four innings of play, but much of the discussion is slanted based on which team you are rooting for.

Lots of Glenn Youngkin fans are touting that he won ten out of ten on his endorsements, but that overlooks that most of the Republican candidates were pre-selected in closed local conventions, and he did not endorse a candidate in nine of Tuesday’s Republican contests. It also ignores that when conservatives invested resources to exert influence on outside races, such as the three Northern Virginia states attorneys races, they failed.

Progressive organizations are similarly pleased with their victories, like Emerge Virginia that promotes women candidates counting they now have 50 Emerge trained candidates in or running for the legislature in the fall. Similarly, Moms Demand candidates came out victorious in tough races in Northern Virginia.

So what do the results of Tuesday’s elections predict for our children and their schools?

Much as pro-public schools voters would like to cheer the departure of radical anti-schools candidates like Dave LaRock, Amanda Chase, and Tim Anderson, sadly the opponents who beat them may be less flamboyant, but they are just as radical in their voting records and position statements. So, though Republican candidates may be toning down the rhetoric around schools, they are not moving toward the center in their policy goals. For instance, Glen Sturtevant who beat Amanda Chase, voted in the past for all the same anti-schools bills and policies that she did. Also, unlike his opponent, Wren Williams did not brag about being at the January 6th insurrection, his website includes a tab insisting that “school choice” is the solution for rural education.

On the Democratic side, there is a mixed bag of socially conservative Dems who lost, and new strong public school proponents who didn’t make it. Certainly, more conservative Dems like Chap Petersen and Joe Morrissey paid for movement too far into right field, but in Prince William County Ben Litchfield, a strongly pro-schools House candidate also didn’t succeed in the primary.

Overall, we will need to play it out, and see what the score is in the last inning in November. What’s most important as voters is that we ask every candidate to support public money for public schools, and to provide adequate resources for all children of Virginia.


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