With five Republican contenders dividing the vote, the GOP primary race for Superintendent of Public Instruction is too close to call.
Unofficial results show that Frank Riggs is less than one percentage point ahead of the current runner up, Bob Branch. Only 739 votes separate the two candidates.
Incumbent Diane Douglas is also trailing closely behind Branch. Only 2,197 votes separate her and the current top contender.
With each of the top three candidates currently receiving about 21 percent of the vote – Douglas is followed by Tracy Livingston with Jonathan Gelbart rounding out the pack – it appears Arizonans looking for a change were unable to rally behind an alternative to the incumbent.
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.
Whoever wins the Republican primary will face off against Kathy Hoffman in the Nov. 6 general election. Hoffman edged out David Schapira in the Democratic primary.
Superintendent of Public Instruction By The Numbers
486,978 votes cast
Diane Douglas 21.49 percent
Bob Branch 21.79 percent
Frank Riggs 21.94 percent
Jonathan Gelbart 14.77 percent
Tracy Livingston 20.02 percent
415,434 votes cast
Kathy Hoffman 53 percent
David Schapira 47 percent