Defeat for many culture war 'extremists' who tried to take control of school boards and lost to liberal, union-backed candidates
- Book-banning and "don't-say-gay" style laws are filling the headlines.
- But many right-wing candidates lost their school board elections in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Many right-wing candidates lost their runs at school board elections in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Although there is no official publication of school board election results, announcements by political groups show that anti-LGBTQ+ candidates have not fared well, even if book-banning and "don't-say-gay" style laws are filling the headlines.
For example, 70% of Democrat-endorsed candidates in Illinois won their elections, per The Guardian. Illinois congressional makeup tilts heavily Democratic with 14 Democrats and three Republicans.
A group of conservative candidates in Barrington, a northwest suburb of Chicago, endorsed by 1776 PAC, Moms For America Action, and Awake Illinois, also lost their race for the school board, Politico reports.
JB Pritzker, the Democratic governor of Illinois, said, "Fortunately, the voters saw through the hidden extremists who were running for school board."
Pritzker added, "I'm glad that those folks were shown up and, frankly, tossed out."
In the Wisconsin school board elections, which took place earlier this month, Politico reports that GOP-backed candidates in the city of Wauwatosa largely lost to candidates backed by teaching unions. They also performed badly in Milwaukee but better in rural area, reports said.
Wisconsin voted for President Biden in the 2020 election by the slim majorities of 20,000 votes and is considered a key battleground state in 2024.
The 1776 Project, a political action committee bankrolled by Richard Uihlein, a billionaire GOP donor, reported a lackluster result for the 63 candidates it supported, with only a third winning races in Illinois and Wisconsin, Politico reported.
—1776 Project PAC (@1776ProjectPac) April 5, 2023
Ryan Girdusky, founder of the conservative 1776 Project political action committee, issued advice to the conservative groups fighting to influence US children's education, when he spoke to Politico. "Don't assume that a blanket message on critical race theory or transgender issues is going to claim every district — it's very personalized," he said.
"If it's happening in that district, speak to it in volumes. But don't tell parents something is happening if it's not happening, because then it doesn't look like you're running a serious operation."
Kim Anderson, executive director of the National Education Association labor union, told Politico that, "Where culture war issues were being waged by some school board candidates, those issues fell flat with voters."
She added, "the takeaway for us is that parents and community members and voters want candidates who are focused on strengthening our public schools, not abandoning them."
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