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Critchfield Wins State Superintendent’s Primary Race

Originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on May 17, 2022

Challenger Debbie Critchfield has won the Republican primary election for state superintendent, according to unofficial results.

Debbie Critchfield greets a well-wisher at the Idaho Republican Party’s Tuesday night celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Boise.

Based on numbers Wednesday morning, Critchfield held the line over fellow challenger Branden Durst and two-term superintendent Sherri Ybarra. Critchfield had over 104,500 votes compared to Durst’s nearly 90,000. Ybarra trailed both candidates, with just under 70,000 votes.

The results are based on unofficial, but complete, reports from all of Idaho’s 44 counties.

“We feel positive about the returns that we’re seeing,” said Critchfield at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. “We’re grateful to the voters around the state who believe in our message of putting Idaho’s kids first.”

Durst acknowledged his loss early Wednesday morning, but he railed on the primary process in Idaho.

“In spite of my defeat, I am thankful to have earned the vote of more Republicans than both of my opponents,” he claimed on Twitter.

Ybarra’s camp has not responded to a request for comments. She remains Idaho’s schools chief through the end of the year, overseeing a department with more than 130 employees.

Ybarra has held office for seven years, Critchfield has served as president of the State Board of Education and Durst is a former Idaho senator.

Critchfield, who by far outraised — and outspent — Durst and Ybarra in recent months, has positioned herself as a change agent with years of experience in K-12. Durst, a Democratic legislator turned conservative hardliner, has courted right-wing Republicans and Ybarra has touted her experience on the job and in the classroom to try and sway voters.

Critchfield will go on to face the sole Democrat running, Terry Gilbert, in the November general election. Ybarra narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Cindy Wilson in the 2018 general election.

Article by Devin Bodkinll, IdahoEdNews.org