Bennett outspent Ritz 5-to-1

The results are in: Tony Bennett outspent Glenda Ritz by more than 5-to-1 in the 2012 campaign for Indiana superintendent of public instruction.

Ritz, of course, won the election: a shocking upset that got noticed around the country. The Democratic challenger polled 1,332,755 votes to 1,190,716 for Bennett, the Republican incumbent and darling of advocates for market-based education reform.

According to campaign finance reports filed this week, Bennett spent $1,866,741 on his campaign during 2012, an unheard-of sum for a down-ticket race. Ritz spent $341,873, which is closer to what you’d expect for this office.

Bennett has been telling news media that he knew he might lose, because the changes he implemented were difficult but necessary. And it’s true – you don’t raise and spend the kind of money that he did unless you think you’re in a race.

But the outcome was still startling. Candidates just don’t win statewide elections when they are outspent 5-to-1. Ritz pulled it off with an extraordinary grass-roots campaign, unified backing from teachers and their friends and supporters, and innovative use of social media to organize and rally the troops.

Politics watchers will be talking about this one for years.

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One thought on “Bennett outspent Ritz 5-to-1

  1. Voters recognized that Bennett was an Extremist, and that testing the students more and more often will not aid in the ability or willingness to learn. Good children from good homes generally jperform well in school (with or without testing)…children from poor homes with little resources and poor parenting do not perform well (with or without testing). This is a deep problem which can not be legislated away…with every challenge comes the need to coach up the team, and their effort to succeed at their job…Bennett and Daniels failed at both. They ruined the moral of the team, good teachers and good parents are turned off by their methods. This is the start of the backlash and they will pay more of a price moving forward, as they ignore the real root of the problem. When is the last time a parent was arrested for a students truancy?? Current rules and laws need to be enforced…not new ones designed to undermine public education. We ignore the issues and build fake ones to gain political control and the CHILDREN pay the price.

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