What to Expect in the 2019 Elections

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This is one of three posts on the 2019 elections; a companion post on statewide ballot measures pertaining to education is here. For the results of the 2019 elections, see the final post.

Although 2019 is an odd year in the election cycle, it holds importance for at least six states, where voters will elect new leaders who will have an impact on state education policy. Like in past years, we are tracking these races closely to keep you informed.

See our infographic for a breakdown of this year’s races.

This year, three states will hold gubernatorial races, two states will hold state school board elections, four states will hold elections for legislative chambers and four states will consider education-related ballot measures. They are as follows:

Gubernatorial races. Mississippi is guaranteed to have a new governor, since the current governor is term limited, while current incumbent Govs. John Bel Edwards, of Louisiana, and Matt Bevins, of Kentucky, are running for re-election. On the campaign trail, the education priorities that candidates are talking about include college affordability, teacher recruitment and retention, career and technical education, and school funding.

State board of education members. Because board members are appointed by governors in all three states that have gubernatorial elections this year, there is potential for new state board members in each of these states. Since Mississippi is guaranteed to have a new governor, there will likely be new state board members. In Washington, local school board members will elect state board members, and Louisiana will hold a statewide election for state board members.

State legislative seats. Of the 99 legislative chambers in the country (Nebraska is unicameral), seven will hold elections for 538 legislative seats: the Louisiana House of Representatives and Senate, the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate, the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate, and the New Jersey House of Representatives.

Statewide ballot initiatives. Voters in Colorado, Louisiana, Texas and Washington will consider education-related ballot initiatives, and we’ll share more on those in a blog post tomorrow. (This is not an exhaustive list of all 2019 ballot measures related to education, but these are the measures that have the most potential impact on a state’s education system and policies.)

Elections in Colorado, Mississippi, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Washington will take place Nov. 5; and Louisiana’s election will take place Nov. 16. We’ll be sure to update you on the results here on Ed Note.

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President at Education Commission of the States | janderson@ecs.org

As the eighth president of Education Commission of the States, Jeremy leads a team of more than 55 education policy experts that serve policymakers in all 50 states through research, reports, convenings and counsel. Prior, Jeremy served many elected officials in Congress, governors' offices and state legislatures across the country. When he is not racing from airport to airport to serve state education policymakers, Jeremy enjoys running, mountain biking, skiing and time with his wife, son and two daughters. Jeremy truly believes that the best education policy happens when policymakers are able to learn from each other.

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