The Governor’s Nominating and Recruiting Committee met this week and interviewed the remaining candidates for State School Board. Following the interviews the committee members ranked their choices, with 1 being the highest. The candidates with the lowest totals were moved forward. On the spreadsheet below, those struck through were not sent on to the Governor.
In years past there has been significant speculation of block voting, with those directly representing education voting together, and business interests voting together. I was curious to see if this year that same block voting played out. Below is the spreadsheet of how each committee member voted. I grouped education and business interests together and highlighted 1 and 2 votes in green to look for block voting.
A few observations:
In District 1, both David Clark and incumbent Terryl Warner were the clear favorites. Terryl Warner was appointed to the board a few months ago when Tami Pyfer went to work for Gov. Herbert. So while she is an ‘incumbent,’ she has not previously been elected.
District 3 had a wide range of diversity in voting. Interestingly, current board member Michael Jensen was not the top choice of any committee member.
With the retirement of Kim Burningham, District 5 saw a record number of candidates file for his seat. Laura Belnap has been strongly associated with charter schools, having served on the State Charter Board as well as a director for an online charter school. The votes for her do indicate some block voting. She received significantly lower votes with the traditional education community, and very high marks from the charter school representative and all but one business interest. Mark Bouchard’s scores are also interesting. Bouchard has served as the chair of Prosperity 2020 and is highly affiliated with the business community. In voting, he was strongly supported by education interest, but received lackluster scores from business.
Former West Jordan Mayor Melissa Johnson did very well across the board with the committee, and incumbent Dan Griffith also did well. Pat Rusk is a former UEA President and was highly supported by education interests, but not by business.
Incumbent Heather Groom, from District 9, was clearly considered the best candidate. She received the top vote from every committee member. It seems highly unlikely the Governor will not place her name on the ballot.
The Governor’s Office will now conduct their own interviews and announce the two candidates who will appear on the ballot by August 1st.