Election Holds Few Surprises for Education Policy

The theme of Tuesday’s election results — both nationally and in Idaho — seems to be that extremists were, for the most part, held at bay. 

In Idaho, surprises were relatively sparce in races that have an impact on public schools and education policy and Idaho Education Association’s bi-partisan slate of endorsed candidates fared well — though a few of IEA’s preferred candidates overcame the odds to win office. Forty-two of 59 2022 election cycle candidates endorsed by IEA’s Political Action Committee for Education (PACE) won their race.

“The endorsement of IEA’s members is increasingly sought after and influential,” said IEA President Layne McInelly, who also co-chairs PACE. “Our work to find the best candidates for public education — no matter their party — gets results and increases the influence of our members in the halls of power.” 

Below is a summary of election outcomes and their impact on Idaho public education, but for a full accounting IEA’s endorsed candidates who were victorious, please refer to IEA’s endorsement webpage (link above) and the Secretary of State’s election results page.

Statewide Offices

In statewide races, Gov. Brad Little easily won re-election keeping a stalwart public education ally in the state’s most important office. Gov. Little’s leadership led lawmakers to adopt record investments in public schools after decades of chronic underfunding, earning the endorsement and support of IEA members in the election. 

IEA-endorsed candidates won two other important statewide races. House Speaker Scott Bedke was easily elected to become Idaho’s next lieutenant governor and Phil McGrane, the former Ada County Clerk, won his race to oversee Idaho elections as Secretary of State. Both are strong public education allies and good government advocates.

In an IEA loss, Terry Gilbert, a former educator and IEA president and region director, lost a spirited campaign for State Superintendent of Public Instruction to Debbie Critchfield. 

“IEA members owe Terry Gilbert a lot and wholeheartedly thank him for stepping forward for Idaho public school students,” said McInelly. “While Terry would have made an excellent state superintendent, we look forward to working with Superintendent-elect Critchfield to make Idaho public schools everything they should be.”

In perhaps the biggest election night blow to political moderates, IEA’s endorsed choice for attorney general, Tom Arkoosh, lost to far-right extremist Raul Labrador. 


Overall, there were few big surprises in legislative elections, which is promising for education policy. Newly elected legislative candidates will be on-hand this January when the Legislature decides how to spend $330 million for public schools allocated during Sept. 1’s special legislative session. It was a historic investment in K-12 public education and comes on the heels of another historic investment during 2022’s regular legislative session.

“We must keep up the momentum and ensure lawmakers spend this funding in ways that have a positive impact on our classrooms,” McInelly said. 

Most education policy is driven by the House and Senate education committees, the make-up of which will not be determined until December. However, one key education theme from Tuesday’s vote is the rejection of candidates who want to syphon scarce public tax dollars away from public school students to pay for a select few to attend private schools.

“While we didn’t win every race, a number of other victories from across the state will help IEA members fight against vouchers this winter when the Legislature convenes,” said Chris Parri, IEA’s political director. “There is plenty to be done to fend off these taxpayer-funded government subsidies for private schools. Enemies of public education are gearing up to syphon all or part of the $330 million set aside for K-12 education during September’s special legislative session to create new voucher schemes.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This