Critchfield mum on rumored superintendent’s run

State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield wouldn’t confirm or deny an unsourced rumor Wednesday that she’ll run for state superintendent of schools.

Branden Durst, who filed paperwork for a state superintendent’s run in January, welcomed Critchfield to the race in a tweet Wednesday morning.

Durst didn’t provide a source for Critchfield’s purported run, but called her out for being a “moderate in the mold of Gov. Little,” who’s “been behind school closures and supporting common core.”

“As the only conservative candidate, I look forward to the contrast with her,” wrote Durst, who served in the Legislature as a Democrat but is running for state superintendent as a Republican.

In a post on his campaign Facebook page, Durst said Critchfield also had “overseen” the hiring of Boise State University President Marlene Tromp.

Critchfield acknowledged seeing the tweet but wouldn’t discuss a possible run.

“Right now, my focus is on supporting students in their crucial year through my work on the State Board of Education,” she said.

Critchfield, a member of the Cassia County Republican Central Committee, was appointed to the State Board in July 2014. She’s a past trustee in the Cassia County School District and is the district’s communications director.

Durst served two terms in the Idaho House from 2007 to 2010. He lost a 2010 state Senate race but was elected again in 2012 and assigned a seat on the Senate Education Committee. He resigned in November 2013 after KTVB reported he was splitting time between Boise and the Seattle area.

Idaho schools chief Sherri Ybarra, a Republican, is in her second term as state superintendent. She has not discussed her re-election plans.

The formal candidate filing period for the race isn’t until early 2022.

However, potential candidates can file paperwork naming a campaign treasurer, a precursor to a run. Durst named a treasurer in January; as of Wednesday, Critchfield has not done so.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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