Erin Jones, Chris Reykdal had the highest vote totals in Tuesday’s returns in the race for state superintendent of schools.
Erin Jones and state Rep. Chris Reykdal were leading a field of nine candidates Tuesday in the contest to succeed Randy Dorn as state schools superintendent.
Jones captured roughly 24 percent of Tuesday’s statewide vote, and Reykdal had 20 percent. If those results hold, they will move on to the November ballot.
The winner in November will be the state’s top schools official, who is responsible for distributing billions of dollars to 295 school districts, and has a bully pulpit on education policy. Dorn, who is not seeking a third term for the nonpartisan post, has lobbied hard for raising education spending, as required under the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
Reykdal, 44, a former teacher and school-board member, has served in the state House for five years. The Tumwater Democrat has said his first act as state superintendent would be to introduce a bipartisan plan to fully fund basic education.If elected, he would be the first superintendent in at least a decade with children enrolled in public schools.
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Reykdal made a strong showing in Thurston County, where he lives, and in neighboring Pierce County. “I plan to continue running a statewide campaign,” he said.
Jones, 45, has served in the state superintendent’s office as an assistant superintendent and has been a teacher and district administrator. She won the 2008 Washington State Milken Educator of the Year award and the state PTA Educator of the Year award in 2015. Jones has said she would “galvanize an army” of students to go talk to the Legislature about the state’s failure to better fund schools.
Jones was giddy about her strong lead in King County, where she said she concentrated her primary campaign.
“I’m a first-time candidate,” she said. “I’ve learned so much.”
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Ron Higgins, a substitute teacher, was running third in Tuesday’s count with 17 percent of the vote.