Millions of dollars from teachers union cannot stop school choice parents from swaying elections

Powerful testimonials on television from scholarship parents sway voters

(Tampa, FL Nov. 08, 2016) – The Florida Federation for Children congratulates pro-school choice candidates for their success during Tuesday’s General Election. The Florida Federation for Children invested in races involving candidates for the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. In 20 out of 21 of these races, pro school choice candidates won their election. On the Senate side, FFC was involved in the races of Frank Artiles, Dana Young, Keith Perry and Anitere Flores.

“Florida voters have shown their commitment to giving every child the opportunity to find the educational environment that best suits their individual needs,” said John Kirtley, board member of the American Federation for Children and Chairman of Florida Federation for Children and Florida Education Empowerment PAC. “Although we are faced with lawsuits against the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and McKay Scholarships, tonight’s results reveal the public’s desire to empower parents with the ability to make the best decisions for their childrens’ educations.”

FFC created television commercials featuring tax credit scholarship parents and children in the Artiles, Young and Perry races. These families expressed their gratitude to these candidates for supporting the tax credit scholarship program.

One factor in this year’s elections was the lawsuit filed by the Florida teachers’ union to shut down the tax credit scholarship program which–if successful–would evict roughly 95,000 low-income, primarily minority, children from their chosen schools. Florida Federation for Children and the Florida Education Empowerment PAC educated the parents of scholarship children about which candidates support their child’s scholarship, and which candidates received funding from the teachers’ union.

Florida Education Empowerment PAC manned a live call center making over 36,000 calls to scholarship parents in seven key Senate races and 15 highly contested House races. The response was overwhelming, with over 55% of scholarship parents turning out to vote prior to election day.

In Senate District 40, over 1,400 scholarship parents had already voted before Election Day. These parents helped Frank Artiles defeat Dwight Bullard, despite the teachers’ union spending nearly $1 million to support Bullard.

And in the most watched House race, Manny Diaz Jr. successfully overcame his challenger to win with scholarship parents making up slightly more than one percent of all votes cast before Election Day. The phone banking, targeted emails, and mailers to scholarship parents by Florida Education Empowerment PAC were a significant factor in Diaz’s victory.

Despite the millions spent by the union, the number of pro school choice legislators actually increased in the Senate and remained stable in the House. Florida Federation for Children, Florida Education Empowerment PAC along with our national organization, American Federation for Children, congratulate all the winners who stand with the hundreds of thousands of children who benefit from school choice in Florida.

AFC Supported Candidates:

First Last District Party I/C/O W/L
Frank Artiles SEN 40 R Open Win
Daphne Campbell SEN 38 D Open Win
Anitere Flores SEN 39 R Open Win
Keith Perry SEN 8 R Open Win
Dana Young SEN 18 R Open Win
Mike Bileca HD 115 R Incumbent Win
Bob Cortes HD 30 R Incumbent Win
John Couriel HD 114 R Open Loss
Manny Diaz Jr. HD 103 R Incumbent Win
Randy Fine HD 53 R Open Win
Shawn Harrison HD 63 R Incumbent Win
Mike Miller HD 47 R Incumbent Win
George Moraitis HD 93 R Incumbent Win
Kathleen Peters HD 69 R Incumbent Win
Ross Spano HD 59 R Incumbent Win
Chris Sprowls HD 65 R Incumbent Win
Jackie Toledo HD 60 R Open Win
Chris Latvala HD 67 R Incumbent Win
Kelli Stargel SD 22 R Incumbent Win
Chuck Clemons HD 21 R Open Win
Gayle Harrell HD 83 R Incumbent Win

Join AFC at our post election event in Washington, DC, Elections and Education, 2017 & Beyond, on Thursday November, 10th. Click here for event information and to RSVP.