With five Republican contenders dividing the vote, the GOP primary race for Superintendent of Public Instruction ended in a tight victory for Frank Riggs.
Final results as of September 5 show that Frank Riggs took a lead of less than one percentage point over the runner up, Bob Branch. Just 359 votes separated the two candidates.
Incumbent Diane Douglas trailed closely behind Branch. Only 3,498 votes separated her and Riggs. The race for the Democratic nomination wasn’t as competitive; Kathy Hoffman beat David Schapira by nearly 22,000 votes.
With both Riggs and Branch receiving just shy of 22 percent of the vote, it appears Arizonans looking for a change were unable to rally behind just one alternative to the incumbent, who herself won about 21 percent of the vote. Additionally, Tracy Livingston garnered another 20 percent, and Jonathan Gelbart rounded out the pack with just shy of 15 percent.
Douglas never quite escaped criticism after clashing with Gov. Doug Ducey early in her first term over the firing of two State Board of Education employees, and she has continued to irk many in the state, even in her own party, over the years. Most recently, she offended public school teachers after criticizing the Red for Ed movement’s decision to strike and suggesting teachers’ certifications may be at risk because of it.
Still, political observers had speculated she would benefit from sheer name recognition in a crowded Republican field.
Riggs will now face off against Hoffman in the Nov. 6 general election.
Superintendent of Public Instruction By The Numbers
570,927 votes cast
Diane Douglas 21.22 percent
Bob Branch 21.77 percent
Frank Riggs 21.84 percent
Jonathan Gelbart 14.94 percent
Tracy Livingston 20.23 percent
484,748 votes cast
Kathy Hoffman 52 percent
David Schapira 48 percent