School board endorsements test DeSantis’ political clout

During the primaries on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis will put his political clout to the test against candidates for the school board.

The Republican governor is entering the non-partisan race to back 30 personally chosen candidates in 18 counties, including Brevard, Flagler, and Volusia.

DeSantis told supporters in Jacksonville on Sunday night that the results of these school board elections will have a significant impact.

Since Amendment 11 was approved in 1998, school board elections in Florida have historically been nonpartisan. Approximately 64% of voters that year backed an amendment that eliminated party connections from school board elections, according to state data.

DeSantis said in a statement to News 6 that he has never mentioned his party membership and that his choice to support the candidates is based on the particular individuals who share his worldview.

“These pro-parent, pro-student local school board candidates are dedicated to the DeSantis education agenda,” the governor stated, in part.

His platform is “a student-first, parent-centered effort focused on putting Florida’s students up for success, safeguarding parental rights in education, and combating the woke agenda from invading public schools,” according to his campaign website.

It is quite rare for a governor to become engaged in local school board contests, according to UCF Professor Dr. James Clark.

Clark said, “We have never seen anything like it.

Clark told News 6 that he sees the primary as a practice run for the general election in November.

It will demonstrate his standing and level of support throughout the state, according to Clark. He is risking his reputation in 30 races.

DeSantis traveled to Volusia, Duval, Miami Dade, and Sarasota Counties on the last Sunday before the Tuesday primary, giving speeches in which he attacked the Biden administration, inflation, and what he termed the “danger of woke indoctrination” in Florida schools.

The school board endorsements, according to Clark, will provide a preview of how the governor’s brand will perform this fall and moving forward.

He has targeted races and individuals where he wants the incumbent or challengers defeated, according to Clark. So Gov. DeSantis will be put to the test here rather than President Trump in Florida.

Polls throughout the whole state are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voting will continue to be open to those in line at 7 o’clock. Anyone who shows up after 7 o’clock will not be permitted to vote.

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