After a lengthy wait, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond has won the race for the California Superintendent of Public Instruction post.
Thurmond defeated Marshall Tuck, but it didn’t come easy. After an initial post-election count, Tuck held a relatively slim lead. But mail-in and provisional ballots counted since then propelled Thurmond unto the lead. Thurmond collected 238,000 more votes than Tuck out of the approximately 3 million ballots counted since Election Day.
The result will be not be official until all the votes are counted, and will be certified by the Secretary of State in early December.
“I want to thank the voters of CA for electing me to serve the 6 million students of California. I intend to be a champion of public schools and a Superintendent for all California students. I want to thank Marshall Tuck for his gracious call to congratulate me and wish me well. Time to get to work!” Thurmond wrote in a Nov. 17 post on Twitter.
Thurmond’s message on California’s voter guide had several pledges to voters.
He shared: “I am running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction because I believe high-quality public schools are the key to California’s future. Education saved my life, enabling me to overcome humble beginnings. I was raised by a single mother who emigrated from Panama to become a teacher. She lost her battle with cancer when I was just 6 years old — so I grew up thinking college was out of reach. But with the help of supportive teachers and a strong public education, I became student body president at my university, and went on to earn two master’s degrees.”
He called himself “a lifelong advocate for youth and families,” and pointed to the fact he spent 12 years working in schools, and started his career running after school programs and counseling at-risk youth.
“I proudly served on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board, Richmond City Council and now in the California State Assembly,” he said. “As Superintendent, I will work to ensure all California kids have access to a high-quality neighborhood school. To accomplish that, I will: 1) Modernize our curriculum to prepare students for jobs in our fast-growing, 21st Century economy. 2) Improve vocational job training education, emphasizing science, technology, engineering, arts and math. 3) Invest in our teachers by raising their wages, offering professional development and providing teachers with affordable housing so they can afford to live in the communities where they teach. 4) Prioritize critical thinking, not teaching to the test. 5) Fight to stop Betsy DeVos’s anti-education agenda from harming California’s kids.”
Thurmond was endorsed by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democratic Party, current Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Sierra Club, Equality California, Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee.
According to estimates, nearly $60 million was spent on the race by the two opponents, which was a new record in campaign spending.