Texas triumph: Voters champion school choice, toppling incumbents in historic political shift

March 6, 2024

By Accuracy In Media

On Tuesday, Texas voters sent a strong message in support of school choice, ousting six anti-school-choice incumbents and forcing four more into runoffs.

It’s what Corey DeAngelis called “the largest political shift toward school choice in Texas history.”

Accuracy in Media’s accountability campaign was critical in unseating elected officials who opposed expanding school choice.

Again and again, hidden-camera investigations conducted by Accuracy in Media illustrate just how important school choice is. Lawmakers have tried to legislate the teaching of controversial topics like the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. But educators and administrators let us know in no uncertain terms that the laws do not stop them from closing the door and teaching what they want. They’ll admittedly change the language to abide by the rules – but the content doesn’t change.

These are not small victories – these are longtime incumbents who have repeatedly opposed school choice. And according to one Texas superintendent, these six victories are enough to push the voucher bill over the finish line.

Big wins for school choice:
HD-11 –  Joanne Shofner defeated 12-year incumbent Rep. Travis Clardy
HD-18 – Janis Holt defeated 8-year incumbent Rep. Ernest Bailes
HD-55 – Hillary Hickland defeated 8-year incumbent Rep. Hugh Shine
HD-60 – Mike Olcott defeated 4-year incumbent Rep. Glenn Rogers
HD-62 – Shelley Luther defeated 7-year incumbent Rep. Reggie Smith
HD-121 – Marc LaHood defeated 6-year incumbent Rep. Steve Allison – AIM’s investigation includes North East ISD, which is in this district.

Incumbents sent to a runoff:
HD-1 – Chris Spencer earned 56% of the vote over 10-year incumbent Rep. Gary VanDeaver
HD-33 – Katrina Pierson held the majority over 8-year incumbent Rep. Justin Holland – AIM’s investigation includes Plano ISD, which is in this district.
HD-44 – Alan Schoolcraft held the majority over 14-year incumbent Rep. John Kuempel
HD-58 – Helen Kerwin earned 49% of votes over 10-year incumbent Rep. DeWayne Burns

DeAngelis reported on a February staff meeting at Hargrave High School in which Huffman ISD superintendent Benny Soileau “pressured employees to vote for specific candidates.”

According to that report, Soileau said, “If we don’t support those 16 representatives in the upcoming election, we roll into the next session almost assured that we’re going to face a universal voucher bill that will change the face of public education for years to come.”

An attendee asked Soileau what it would take to pass school choice.

“If six get beat, then they have the upper hand and they can walk into the next session pretty confident that they’re going to be able to pass this voucher bill.”

Click here to see the Accuracy in Media footage that showed Texans just how important school choice is.


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