Common Core supporters are hailing Tuesday’s primary elections as a major victory, as candidates campaigning on their opposition to the new multi-state standards went down to defeat in several states.
In South Dakota, incumbent pro-Common Core Gov. Dennis Daugaard easily dispatched a challenge from Lora Hubbel with over 80 percent of the vote. Hubbel’s entire campaign against Daugaard was built around her opposition to Common Core.
Similarly, in Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad routed challenger Tom Hoefling, who had made Common Core opposition a large part of his campaign.
Races in Alabama were being closely watched after Common Core flared into a major issue at the state level. Common Core opponents challenged two members of the state school board as well as many state senators and representatives.
In the end, both school board members prevailed, as did seven of eight challenged senators. Ambitious efforts to bring down the Republican leaders in the state House and Senate failed utterly, losing by over 20 points.
Another survivor was State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, whose opponent received over $100,000 in support from the Stop Common Core PAC. Holtlaw had defended Common Core strongly enough that he was threatened with censure by his county’s local Republican Party.
Michael Brickman, national policy director with the Fordham Institute, a conservative pro-Common Core think tank, said the election results showed that Common Core wasn’t a major concern to most voters.
“I think that the opponents thought that simply by being supportive of Common Core, that would be a liability for elected officials,” Brickman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “That doesn’t seem to be the case.” He argued that most voters knew nothing about it, and that among those who did it did not necessarily dictate their votes.
Brickman expressed confidence that the recent victories would translate into long-term acceptance and success for Common Core.
“The more people learn about Common Core the more they tend to be supportive of it,” he said.
While there may be continued state-led efforts against the standards, he predicted that most cases, “[t]hey’re gonna end up with a product that’s similar to the Common Core.” Several states have attempted to evade criticism of the standards by giving them a unique name within the state (Arizona, for instance, calls them the College and Career Ready Standards), and even in Indiana, which has supposedly pulled out, critics have claimed the new standards are nearly identical.
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