State Races to Watch in the 2022 Election

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Arizona Statehouse Stock Photo

The midterm elections are now only two weeks away. As with past elections, the outcomes on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, will have a major impact on charter school legislation in state capitols across the country.

For example, an unprecedented number of anti-charter school governors and state legislators were elected during the 2018 elections, leading to the enactment of anti-charter school legislation in states such as California, Illinois, Maine, and New Mexico. Conversely, the 2020 elections resulted in pro-charter school governors and state legislators prevailing anew in many states. As a result, charter school supporters were able to enact pro-charter school legislation in many states, including Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The bottom line is that the results this election season will determine where the charter school movement’s legislative opportunities and challenges are for at least the next two years.

The conventional wisdom is that the opposing party to the sitting President always fares well during the midterm elections. Therefore, we would expect the Republicans to largely win key gubernatorial and state legislative contests. However, for a variety of reasons, it appears that the Democratic gubernatorial candidates are generally faring better in the polls than one would expect, although that might be changing somewhat as we enter the homestretch of these elections.

Going into election night, here are the states we’re keeping a particularly close eye on:

  • In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey, a charter school supporter, isn’t running again because of term limits. There is a close contest to replace him. At the same time, the Arizona House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers” by Ballotpedia, meaning that control of the chambers could flip.
  • In Hawaii, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, a charter school champion, won the Democratic primary and is expected to win the general election.
  • In Maine, Governor Janet Mills, a charter school opponent, is in a tough re-election race. In addition, the Maine House and Senate, where there are currently anti-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan, a supporter of charter schools, isn’t running again because of term limits. He is likely to be replaced by someone who isn’t as supportive.
  • We are likely to see a scenario similar to Maryland play out in Massachusetts, where Governor Charlie Baker, a supporter of charter schools, is retiring and is likely to be replaced by someone who isn’t a supporter.
  • In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a charter school opponent, is in a tough re-election race. In addition, the Michigan House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz, a charter school opponent, is in a tough re-election race. In addition, the Minnesota House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak, a charter school opponent, is in a tough re-election race. In addition, the Nevada House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In New Hampshire, the House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In North Carolina, the House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown, a charter school opponent, isn’t running again because of term limits and may be replaced by a pro-charter school candidate.
  • In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf, a charter school opponent, isn’t running again because of term limits. There is a close contest to replace him. Also, the House and Senate, where there are currently pro-charter school majorities, are designated as “battleground chambers.”
  • In Rhode Island, Governor Daniel McKee, a charter school champion, survived a tough primary challenge and is expected to win the general election.
  • There are close gubernatorial contests in New Mexico and Wisconsin involving incumbents that are anti-charter school (or neutral at best) that could be pick-ups for charter schools if the pro-charter school candidate wins.

There is a lot on the line for charter schools across the country on election night. Based on what happens that night, we’ll know a lot about where we need to play offense and defense in the 2023 legislative sessions. Look for our summary of the election results the day after the election right here.

 

Todd Ziebarth is the senior vice president of state advocacy and support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

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