Political committees with ties to Florida conservatives are pumping thousands of dollars to candidates who are campaigning against anti-racism lessons, pandemic safety measures, and other DeSantis priorities, which seems aimed at energizing parents ahead as the governor seeks re-election in November, reported Politico.
“People are frustrated with the business-as-usual on these school boards,” said Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Florida GOP and husband of a DeSantis-endorsed Sarasota County school board member. “Payback is coming in August."
DeSantis and the state GOP are looking to defeat incumbent school officials and take control of school boards, even where Republicans are already serving.
“I just don’t understand,” said Marta Pérez, a conservative who has served 24 years on the Miami-Dade County school board. “Because I have never had a conversation with the governor and he’s supporting someone whose agenda seems to be my agenda.”
Pérez, who has put $100,000 of her own money into her race, said she was “very puzzled” to see the governor endorse challenger Monica Colucci, an elementary language arts teacher with 26 years of experience who has raised less than half of what her incumbent opponent has raised.
“I know the challenges that parents are facing and teachers are facing day in and day out,” Colucci said. “You can be on a board for 24 years but if you’re not day to day facing the challenge yourself, you get a bit removed.”
Although Pérez has a substantial fundraising lead, and conservative activists all over Florida are showering cash on school board races, she and other school board candidates around the country understand the governor's endorsement might be crucial in their primary races.
“Funding for me is like I’m a pariah,” Pérez said. “I’m working like I’ve never worked in my life.”