Tennesseans’ last chance to vote in dozens of crucial elections is Thursday, Aug. 2.
Democrats and Republicans will decide who will be their party’s gubernatorial nominee. Those two individuals will face off in November to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. Tennessee’s next governor will significantly shape public education, and voters have told pollsters that they are looking for an education-minded leader to follow Haslam.
In Memphis, voters will have a chance to influence schools in two elections, one for school board and the other for county commission, the top local funder for schools, which holds the purse strings for schools.
Also, all 99 state representatives and half of the state’s 33 senators are up for reelection. State lawmakers have a heavy hand in deciding education policy and funding for Tennessee’s 146 districts.
To help you make more informed decisions, Chalkbeat asked candidates in four of these races critical questions about public education.
Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley hope to become the state’s first Democratic governor in eight years.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black, businessman Randy Boyd, Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, and businessman Bill Lee are campaigning to succeed fellow Republican Haslam as governor, but first they must defeat each other in the 2018 primary election.
Fifteen people are vying for four seats on the Shelby County Schools board this year. That’s much higher stakes compared to two years ago when five seats were up for election with only one contested race. And one education advocacy organization has put more than $50,000 into supporting one candidate. If you missed our candidate forum last month, read up on what they said.
The Shelby County Board of Commissioners and county mayor are responsible for most school funding in Memphis. Chalkbeat sent a survey to candidates asking their thoughts on what that should look like.
Early voting ran until July 28. Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 2.