Tom Horne started the attack on Ethnic Studies in Tucson, then went on to be such a criminal scumbag attorney general that he didn't even win his party's primary this year. With backing from the fundy, Know Nothing wing of the legislature, Horne's successor John Huppenthal finished the purge of Ethnic Studies, and continued to dismantle school funding so we could build more prisons. Hupp then embarrassed himself nationally, ending his political career, when he was busted as a racist sockpuppet.
In the primary for school chief this year, then, Republicans tossed aside Huppenthal and chose Diane Douglas, who very few people knew. She has no real education experience as a teacher or administrator. She just wasn't John Huppenthal, who was abandoned by his party and former supporters after his anonymous bigoted blogging was exposed.
Her opponent was Democrat David Garcia, an Army infantry veteran, former teacher, former Associate Director of Public Instruction, current Arizona State University professor of education, and a national leader in the field—an all-around smart, good guy. David's endorsement page reads like a Who's Who of voices that matter, from the conservative Arizona Republic, to nearly every independent education panel, to former Superintendents of Public Instruction, including Republicans.
Douglas ran no campaign that I could see. I never saw a sign, never saw an ad, but I live in a very blue district. She "ducked" the media, according to reporter Laurie Roberts, and she refused to debate Garcia. She had one issue: opposition to Common Core. The tea bagging Douglas had no endorsements whose names you'd recognize, and her own friggin' website is empty under the section called "My Record and News." It says "check back later"; it still says that. Her online bio proudly celebrates her lack of professional experience:
I did it on my own, for my own edification rather than through a college of "education" in order to add letters after my name.
Got that? Education in quotes—not the real stuff like her learnin'. She says she'll return control to parents (read: more Jesus in the classroom). Douglas, who runs a stained glass store, did
have one thing going for her: An R after her name. I'd wager a big bucket of cash that most of the old farts in Sun City and the wingers statewide who voted for Douglas couldn't pick her out of a lineup, or tell you a thing she stands for—other than she's not a Democrat and hates Barack Obama.
Of all the statewide battles in Arizona, this is one race I'd have bet was safe for Democrats. Douglas won the GOP primary because she isn't John Huppenthal, and she'll likely win the statewide race because she isn't a Dem. What she is is pretty scary. With tax-cutting Doug Ducey as governor, a legislature packed with far-right clowns, and Chauncey Gardiner overseeing education policy, schools are in for an even bumpier ride. Scram Charles Darwin! Take a hike history! We're currently ranked 44th in education performance, so there's still room to move down!
You gotta wonder now about the Democrats' future here, wrote Laurie Roberts last night when it looked like Douglas might pull the upset.
Tonight, we see if the Democratic Party is an endangered species in Arizona. Two words: Diane Douglas. If she wins the state superintendent's race, then truly the Dems are headed the way of the do-do bird.
This morning it's bleak: Douglas is winning 51-49, the only county that hasn't reported (Cochise) is a GOP stronghold, and the majority of absentee ballots are from Maricopa County, which Douglas won at the polls. That the race is close is mind-boggling, that Douglas might win is shameful.