Democratic candidate for state superintendent of education joins new party

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — You may have heard of a two-party system, but have you heard of a candidate running under two parties?

That’s exactly what state superintendent of education candidate Lisa Ellis has done.

“The Alliance Party represents voices that are often brushed under the rug by politicians, voices like working families and students with special needs,” said the Democratic candidate. “It is this alignment that excites me to be running as a fusion candidate with the Democratic party and the Alliance party.”

The founder of the teacher group SC for Ed says that running as a fusion candidate under two parties shows that she is focused more on improving public schools than on a Democratic party agenda. 

“I urge you when you vote in November to place your child, grandchild or neighbors education first and foremost,” Ellis said. 

The last Democrat to win a state superintendent of education was Jim Rex back in 2006. Thursday, he spoke about why he supports Lisa Ellis.

“Lisa is ideally positioned to help this state deal with the crisis of a teacher supply,” Rex said. “First of all, I want to remind you that she is the first candidate to run for the office who is an active classroom teacher.”

Ellis has 21 years of experience in education, teaching in three school districts and four schools.

Rex says the contrast between state superintendent of education candidates makes the choice easy for voters.

“On one hand, you have an educator who believes in the essentiality of public education being accessible and accountable,” said the former state superintendent of education. “On the other hand, you have a non-educator who proposes using tax dollars to weaken our public schools and underwrite a portion of public school expenses.”

Ellis’ opponent, Republican Party nominee Ellen Weaver, also has support from former superintendents. Mick Zais and Barbara Neilsen along with 27 state lawmakers have endorsed Weaver.

“I have the skills… experience and background of working with them to form trusted relationships.  I’ve done policy research to understand what works and what doesn’t,” said Weaver back in June. “I also have a listening ear. I’m going to be out in the community filtering through the feedback that parents, teachers and business leaders are giving. All of those things make me a uniquely qualified candidate for this position.”

Ultimately, voters in November will decide in what could prove to be a close race.

In the Democratic primary, Ellis received more than 87,000 votes. In the Republican runoff election, Weaver got around 92,000 votes.

Categories: Local News, Richland