School Choice Champions Earn Victories in Georgia Primary Races

Aug 01, 2012, 18:00 ET from American Federation for Children

A bipartisan group of candidates in favor of expanded educational options secure wins prior to key general election contests

ATLANTA, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Voters in Georgia last night reaffirmed their commitment to providing strong educational options, as four candidates that support school choice won vital primary races.

The American Federation for Children—the nation's voice for school choice—praised the victories as step towards building momentum for a number of upcoming education reform initiatives, including a November ballot initiative to reinstate a charter school authorizing board and ongoing efforts to strengthen the state's two existing private school choice options.

State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R) defeated Brandon Beach and Representative Sheila Jones (D) knocked off challenger Jason Esteves by margins of 59 percent and 65 percent of the vote, respectively.  Rogers, an outspoken supporter of educational options, won by the nearly 20-point margin despite efforts from his opponent to attack his strong voting record in favor of school choice and education reform.

State Senate Candidate Chuck Hufstetler won a Republican primary for Senate District 52, while State House Candidate John Pezold upset a Republican incumbent by fewer than 400 votes.  Both candidates will be strong proponents of school choice if elected in this fall's general election.

"These early victories are only a preview of what's to come in the general elections, and they're an indication that opponents of more educational options are simply out of touch with voters," said Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the American Federation for Children.  "We look forward to voters once again electing school choice champions and supporting the vital charter school ballot initiative later this year."

The American Federation for Children and its affiliated political action committee invested heavily in the primary elections to education voters about the records of both school choice champions and their opponents.  Independent radio ads and mail were conducted on behalf of Rogers, while mail and radio were done in Jones' and Hufstetler's races, respectively.

All four Federation-supported candidates support a constitutional amendment on the ballot this November that would reinstate a key authorizing commission of charter schools, giving voters the final decision in a long-fought education reform debate. 

Reestablishing the Commission would significantly strengthen the educational options in Georgia, a state that currently educates more than 48,000 children in charter schools and more than 11,000 children in two publicly funded private school choice programs.


SOURCE American Federation for Children