Incumbent state superintendent Sherri Ybarra and Capital High School teacher Cindy Wilson won their respective primaries Tuesday.
Ybarra won the Republican primary with 59 percent of the vote. Wilder superintendent Jeff Dillon claimed 41 percent.
In the Democratic primary, Wilson easily defeated Boise retiree Allen Humble, claiming 85 percent of the votes.
Throughout the campaign, Ybarra called on voters to preserve stability in the State Department of Education. She touted the Legislature’s investment of more than $100 million in new spending during each year of her first term, an investment that allowed the state to raise educators’ salaries through the career ladder salary law.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the Republican nomination,” said Ybarra, waited for results from her home in Mountain Home and did not attend the GOP function in Downtown Boise. “I’m excited to continue the work. This shows my four-year evaluation.”
Looking ahead to a potential second term, Ybarra has said she would pursue a $20 million school safety initiative and continue to ramp up her anti-bullying initiative.
“We’ve accomplished a lot during the past four years in increasing teacher pay, focusing on early literacy, and supporting students to ‘go on’ with advanced opportunities and college and career advising,” Ybarra said. “We have more to do.”
Although Wilson entered the race relatively late, she managed to raise more in campaign contributions than the other three candidates combined.
“I have so much gratitude and humility to those who support me — people gave my campaign money and that’s a humbling thing,” Wilson said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “The win last night makes me want to work so hard for all of these people who are behind our vision.”
Wilson built her campaign around promises to increase literacy rates by third grade, invest in preschool and early childhood education and improve teacher retention.
“I am willing to work as hard as I can and do whatever it takes to win this election,” Wilson said.
It wasn’t surprising that Wilson opened a large early lead over Humble.
Humble pushed for preschool as well. He said school funding was inadequate and he decried the proliferation of voter-approved levies in more than 90 school districts across the state. But Humble ran a modest, quiet and largely self-financed campaign. Organizers of the Idaho Debates canceled the Democratic superintendent debate because Humble could not prove he was running an active campaign.
Ybarra and Wilson will meet in the Nov. 5 general election.