Kathy Hoffman leads Tom Horne in the race to become Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Left: Kathy Hoffman, Democratic candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, speaks during the Arizona Democrats election party at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel on November 8, 2022 in Phoenix. (Photo by Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News) Right: Tom Horne is the Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. (Photo courtesy of Tom Horne)

PHOENIX — Outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman took an early Tuesday night lead against Republican challenger Tom Horne, who is seeking to reclaim the position he once held.

With 61% of precinct returns, Hoffman, who has focused his campaign on issues of recruiting and retaining educators, led Horne, according to unofficial results from the Arizona secretary of state’s office.

“To be clear, my budget was a third of my opponents. But my passion for this work is unmatched, and as more and more votes are tallied, I hope we once again have the chance to show Arizona that this position cannot be bought by corrupt politicians,” Hoffman said in a statement.

Hoffman and Horne’s campaigns showed a wide divide on a multitude of issues.

As Hoffman defended his case, Horne called for a return to academic fundamentals to boost test scores.

During her tenure, Hoffman focused on teacher retention and advocated for student mental well-being by investing in programs to support mental health resources for students.

Horne, who served two terms as superintendent before becoming Arizona attorney general, hammered home Republican themes that have been effective elsewhere in the country. He castigated any teaching of critical race theory in schools — Hoffman dismissed the question as meaningless because it’s not taught in Arizona anyway — and any race-based lessons based on the project. 1619 from the New York Times.

Hoffman had previously served as a preschool teacher and speech pathologist.

She has shown her support for LGBTQ students in Arizona, including encouraging the use of Q Chat, an online space for LGBTQ students to safely talk about issues with others their age, in schools. . Horne opposed the idea.

Horne says on his campaign website that Q Chat “encourages children to chat with unauthorized adults about hypersexual topics.”

Hoffman said public education must be fully inclusive.

“If we want our state to move forward, let’s support public education, including making our schools safe and inclusive for all children, including our LGBTQ youth,” Hoffman said.

As superintendent from 2003 to 2011, Horne fought to remove ethnic studies from schools, led changes to school tests for English proficiency, which critics said would violate the 1964 civil rights, and he advocated for the expansion of kindergarten from a half-day program. to a voluntary full-day program.

Seeking to reclaim the position, Hoffman’s top priorities included replacing bilingual educational services with English immersion programs and requiring high school students to take a standardized test to graduate.

Unlike Hoffman, who wants more counselors and social workers on campus, Horne wants to increase police presence in schools.

“Saying you’re a gun-free school means, ‘I’m a victim. Come get me,” he said.