California Teachers Unions Defeat School Reformer Marshall Tuck — Again

Marshall Tuck (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)
Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Lost in the reporting of Democrats’ victories over Republicans in California’s congressional races was the story of how California’s teachers unions defeated another Democrat, school reformer Marshall Tuck, for the second election in a row.

Tuck, a charter school advocate, ran a well-financed campaign in 2014 against incumbent Tom Torlakson for the post of California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He tried again in 2018, and seemed to be on a path to victory when he won the  June primary over union- and party-backed Tony Thurmond, 37% to 35.6%.

However, the left came out for Thurmond — as they did for Democrats in contested U.S. House races statewide — and Tuck conceded over the weekend.

As the Sacramento Bee reported Monday:

When former charter school executive Marshall Tuck called Assemblyman Tony Thurmond to concede over the weekend, it marked another defeat for charter-school advocates in California.

Thurmond was elected California’s top education official in the wave that led more liberal-leaning voters to cast ballots. Although both are Democrats, Thurmond had the party’s endorsement.

He also was backed by teachers unions, who were outspent more than two-to-one.

The California Teachers Association provided most of the more-than $16 million independent effort supporting Thurmond. His campaign raised more than $3 million. Labor unions and the California Democratic Party were among the biggest donors for both Thurmond’s campaign and the independent efforts supporting him.

School reformers have won a few recent victories, notably in Los Angeles school board elections last year.

However, opponents of reform have been able to use the Democratic Party’s turnout machine to out-hustle reformers statewide — even when being out-spent.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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