School Choice Movement Declares Victory in Georgia Primary

Georgia Republicans Overwhelmingly Vote for School Choice Ballot Question (75%-25%), Pro-School Choice Republicans and Democrats Prevail in Primary Races (17 out of 25 races)

Georgia voters went to the polls on Tuesday and pro-school choice candidates from both parties prevailed in races for the Georgia State House and State Senate. Republican primary voters were also given the opportunity to express their support or opposition to school choice and 75% of Georgian Republicans voted in favor of the school choice ballot question.

Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, issued the following statement:
“Tuesday’s results are clear, voters want more school choice and embrace pro-school choice candidates.

“We hope policy makers throughout Georgia recognize the hunger parents have for school choice and embrace the future of education, which focuses on ensuring every child reaches his or her fullest potential and receives a world class education.

“We want to congratulate all of the candidates who embrace forward looking education policies and we are very encouraged by Tuesday’s results. There’s no mistaking that voters from both parties and from all corners of the state are eager for access to more school choice.”

Seventy five percent of Republican primary voters cast a vote in favor of a ballot question reading,
“Should Georgia empower parents with the right to use the tax dollars allocated for the education of their children, allowing them the freedom to choose among public, private, virtual, and home schools? Yes or No”

Despite the question being at the bottom of the ballot, more Republicans voted for or against the school choice ballot question than all votes cast in the U.S. Senate race at the top of the ticket and the “Yes” vote won in every county in the state.

“The results are apparent and clear – Republican voters strongly support school choice and expect their elected officials to transfer power from the education establishment into the hands of parents,” added DeVos.

The American Federation for Children Action Fund’s state affiliated political committees invested more than $110,000 in support of 27 candidates in 25 races in support of candidates from both parties in the House and Senate, 18 of whom were Republicans and 9 of whom were Democrats. Within the 25 targeted races, 17 preferred candidates prevailed in the primary by winning out right or advancing to a run off.

In the State House, three candidates advanced to a run off, 10 candidates won their primary, and six were defeated. In the State Senate, 6 out of 8 preferred candidates prevailed.

Key electoral victories include:
HD 8 – Matt Gurtler (R) advanced to a run off in an open seat.
HD 39 – Erica Thomas (D) prevailed in her primary.
HD 72 – Josh Bonner (R) prevailed in his primary in an open seat.
HD 75 – Mike Glanton (D) prevailed in his primary
HD 77 – Rhonda Burnough (D) advanced to a runoff against the incumbent.
SD 5 – Curt Thompson (D) prevailed in his primary.
SD 28 – Matt Brass (R) prevailed in his primary in an open seat.

Currently, more than 16,800 students participate in Georgia’s two private school choice programs, the “Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program” and the “Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.” And, as of the 2014-2015 school year, 79,991 students were in conversion and start-up charter schools.