Florida Governor Ron DeSantis celebrated the victory of school board candidates he endorsed recently. At least 21 of the 30 candidates backed by the Florida Governor in the school board candidates won their races, including four of seven who faced Democrat-backed opponents.
“We were able to take school boards that had leftist majorities”- DeSantis-backed candidates secure huge wins in school board elections
21 of the 30 candidates backed by DeSantis won, while four of the remaining nine picks still have a chance to be elected in a run-off election.
“We were able to take school boards that had leftist majorities … people that wanted to mask your kids, people that wanted to indoctrinate your kids. We were able to replace them all across the state,” DeSantis said at a stop on his “Keep Florida Free” tour. “We were able to replace union-backed candidates with conservatives,” he added.
The DeSantis candidates ran campaigns emphasizing parental rights, school choice, and complete transparency about what their children are learning. Candidates backed by DeSantis won all three school board seats up for grabs in Sarasota County, which defied the governor by maintaining a mask mandate in schools last year. Bridget Ziegler, one of the successful candidates, is married to the vice chair of Florida’s Republican Party.
“The Community has spoken & it is crystal clear — they are demanding a reset of the School Board,” Ziegler wrote on Twitter after she won. “And that’s what they are going to get.”
Before the elections, the Florida Governor posted a list of 30 school board candidates he endorsed, saying the candidates were “committed to the student-first principles of the DeSantis Education Agenda.”
The 1776 Project PAC, a conservative education political action committee that supported some of the school board candidates, tweeted that the Miami-Dade school board has flipped conservative after two DeSantis-backed candidates, Roberto Alonso and Monica Colucci, were elected.
Sarasota County’s school board went from having a three-to-two liberal majority to having a four-to-one conservative majority. Following the elections, Duval County also has a conservative-majority school board.
“Congrats to Bridget Ziegler, Robyn Marinelli, and Timothy Enos,” the 1776 Project PAC said of the Sarasota races.
“Miami Dade is now the LARGEST county in America with a conservative school board majority,” the group said.
“We need help at the local level”
Republicans and Democrats have clashed over masks in schools, critical race theory — a graduate-level legal theory that examines American institutions, history, and policy through the lens of structural racism that exists within them — and what ages are appropriate to teach children about LGBTQ topics.
Education issues have boiled over in Florida, where some school boards, including Miami-Dade, defied DeSantis’s ban on masks in schools last year.
School board elections are usually unnoticed and are largely nonpartisan. Budgets, schedules, supplies, curriculum, and other issues are decided by members of the school board. However, in over a dozen counties where DeSantis supported candidates, school boards defied the governor last fall by requiring students to wear masks.
A few days before the election, DeSantis was in Doral to promote the campaigns of his endorsed candidates. “We need help at the local level,” DeSantis told about 430 enthusiastic supporters at a firehouse during a campaign event on Sunday. “You guys with your power going out and voting is going to make a huge difference.”
Throughout the event, school board candidates, the governor, and Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez brought up the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the Don’t Say Gay bill.
“We are going to fight to make sure that they do not have subjected upon them woke gender ideology, critical race theory, and things that only look to confuse them further,” Lieutenant Gov. Nunez said.