Nearly two weeks after Election Day, former state Assemblyman Tony Thurmond has declared victory over Marshall Tuck to become the state's next Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Associated Press has not called the race, but Tuck conceded on Saturday morning as Thurmond's lead grew to more than 150,000 votes, with an estimated 2 million ballots left to count.
“I want to thank the voters of California for electing me to serve the 6 million students of California," Thurmond said in a statement. "I intend to be a champion of public schools and a Superintendent for all California students."
Thurmond — who represents parts of the East Bay in the state Assembly and used to be a Richmond City Council member, school board member and social worker — trailed Tuck by 86,000 votes on election night and was polling more than 10 points ahead of Thurmond a week before the election.
The nonpartisan race was the most expensive state superintendent election in U.S. history, according to an Associated Press analysis. Tuck outraised Thurmond by a nearly two-to-one margin, with significant support from charter school advocates.
Tuck's loss is a blow to charter schools, whose supporters also contributed heavily to his unsuccessful 2014 run for superintendent against Tom Torlakson. They had hoped Tuck would bring a more supportive view of charter schools to a position that doesn't have policy-making power, but does have a large megaphone at its disposal as the leader of the state's Department of Education.