Several Teachers Advance In Oklahoma Primary
OKLAHOMA CITY - More than half of the teachers in Tuesday night's primary will be moving on in their campaigns for a seat in the Oklahoma Legislature. From News 9’s count, 98 teachers went into Tuesday night vying for a seat at the Capitol.
Twenty-two teachers won their races outright. Another 16 are in a runoff, although six of those won as well. Seventeen teachers ran unopposed. In total, that means 55 teachers will be moving on in the election.
Sherrie Conley was a classroom teacher for 15 years and is now an assistant principal for Oklahoma City Public Schools. But during the teacher's walkout in April, she made the decision to try and change professions. She's now running for House District 20.
"When Mr. Cleveland and some others made the comments about teachers getting back to the classroom, that just kind of set me off," she said.
Conley is one of 38 teachers who either won their race or qualified for the runoff in the primary.
"I think the teachers became empowered because of the teacher strike that really moved them to the front of the line in getting the attention of the voters," said Bill Shapard with SoonerPoll.
In addition, those who did not appear to support teachers, like Conley's opponent Bobby Cleveland, took a hit. Of the 10 House Republicans who had a race Tuesday night and voted against HB1010XX, only one won. Two others lost and seven are in runoffs.
"They look at these no new tax people and they say okay you said no and no's not a solution," said Shapard.
But teachers say they've done the math and 55 chances to take over legislative seats may be the answer.
"Who better to fix education than teachers," said Conley.
One teacher, Mark VanCuren a Science teacher at Sperry Public Schools won his seat Tuesday night. He doesn't have a challenger in the November election.