Anti-CRT candidates flip school board majorities in 5 Florida counties

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Candidates opposed to critical race theory captured a majority of seats in at least five Florida counties Tuesday with the backing of Gov. Ron DeSantis and a political action committee dedicated to ousting "woke" school board members nationwide.

Ryan Girdusky of the 1776 Project PAC, which works to elect school board candidates "who want to reform our public education system by promoting patriotism and pride in American history," announced on Twitter Tuesday that his organization had "tremendous victories all across Florida" as voters headed to the polls for the state's primary election. 

The group's victories included school board elections in two of Florida's most populous counties.

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"Both of our candidates in Miami Dade County, Florida just WON their elections, flipping the school board conservative," the group stated on Twitter. "Miami Dade County is now the LARGEST county in America with a conservative school board majority."

Miami-Dade County is the most populous county in Florida and home to the largest school district in the state.

Election results compiled by local news outlet WPLG show 1776 Project PAC-endorsed Roberto Alonso capturing the school board seat in District 4 with 57% of the vote and 1776 Project PAC-supported Monica Colucci winning the school board seat in District 8 with 54% of the vote. 

In Duval County, which contains the state's largest city of Jacksonville, the 1776 Project PAC-supported April Carney and Charlotte Joyce captured seats on the school board.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Girdusky said Tuesday's election results are evidence that "people are very highly motivated over the issue of education." 

"It garners a large portion of the decisions that they make in their adult life when they have children," he added. These decisions include "where they're going to live" and "where their kids are going to school."

According to Girdusky, parents "want the best for [their children]."

"They don't want schools to sit there and indoctrinate children. They don't want schools to sit there and apply critical race theory or critical gender theory to their children," he said.

Noting that "they think that those matters are best left at home," Girdusky said education is an issue that "highly motivates conservative voters across the country." 

Encyclopedia Brittanica defines critical race theory as an "intellectual and social movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category designed to oppress and exploit people of color."

The strong performance by candidates supported by the 1776 Project PAC extended beyond the counties with major metropolitan areas.

In Sarasota County, the 1776 Project PAC reported that its three endorsed candidates won their elections.

"We just flipped the school board from a 3-2 liberal majority to 4-1 conservative," the organization tweeted. 

Video footage captured earlier this month purports to show a member of the Sarasota County Board of Education bragging that "there are school board members that are woke."

He contended that such school board members were "working in the best strategic spot because we're on the inside."

All six 1776 Project PAC-endorsed candidates in Martin County and Clay County also won their elections, the groupreported. Clay and Martin county now have a conservative majority.

When addressing the results in Clay County, the 1776 Project PAC shared video footage of a parent speaking to the Clay County School Board about how school district officials met with his daughter regarding her gender identity "behind our backs." The father emotionally recalled how her daughter attempted suicide over discomfort regarding her gender identity that he knew nothing about. The father maintained that the school district "affirmed" her as a male, effectively leading to her living a "double life."

In addition to concerns about the teaching of critical race theory, outrage over school district policies regarding trans-identified students and the teaching of LGBT ideology in public schools has also loomed large in American politics, especially Florida. 

Gov. DeSantis signed into law a measure forbidding school officials from discussing matters related to sexual orientation and gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade. 

Candidates supported by the 1776 Project PAC won two out of three school board seats on the ballot in Brevard County and Hillsborough County, home to Tampa.

In Flagler County, one of the three candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC won her seat outright, while another is headed to a runoff election that will take place concurrently with November's general election. The same situation played out in Hernando County and Indian River County, where one of the candidates ran unopposed and was therefore automatically elected. 

With 98% of precincts reporting, 1776 Project PAC-backed Rick Nolte of Polk County School Board's District 3 appears to have secured a spot on the school board after capturing 51% of the vote. Another candidate, Jill Sessions of Polk County School Board's District 6, appears poised to head to a runoff election after capturing 38% of the vote in a three-way race. 

Additionally, 1776 Project PAC-endorsed candidate Denise Nystrom advanced to a runoff election for a seat on the Lee County Board of Education. School board candidates Christopher Moore and Steve Moss did not have any opposition and therefore automatically won seats on the Bay County Board of Education. Also in the northwest part of the state, 1776 Project PAC-supported Lamar White won a seat on the Okaloosa County Board of Education. 

Candidates supported by the 1776 Project PAC came up short in Collier County, Monroe County, Palm Beach County and Walton County, while both of the 1776 Project PAC's endorsed candidates in Pinellas County and one of their two preferred candidates in Volusia County appear headed to runoff elections. 1776 Project PAC-endorsed Phil Leary won a seat on the Putnam County Board of Education, while the race for the other seat on the ballot remains too close to call. 

With final results still pending, 25 of the 49 Florida school board candidates supported by the 1776 Project PAC have won their races while 15 have lost, eight appear headed to runoff elections and one race remains too close to call. 

Before Tuesday's election, all of the candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC in Texas and Colorado won their races. Most of their preferred candidates prevailed in Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia school board elections.

"We have candidates in Rhode Island, California, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona … Florida and Texas that are all looking for our endorsement," Girdusky said. 

Girdusky indicated that the organization plans on making additional endorsements ahead of November's general election. The 1776 Project PAC advocates for its endorsed candidates via "mailers, text messages, digital ads, [and] robocalls," Girdusky said.

Gov. DeSantis, another outspoken opponent of critical race theory, endorsed 30 school board candidates running in school districts across the state. DeSantis' list includes more than two-thirds of the candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC and additional candidates in Alachua, Hendry, Lee, Manatee, Monroe and Pasco Counties. 

All but one of the candidates endorsed by DeSantis but not by the 1776 Project PAC either won their races outright or have advanced to runoff elections. Twenty-four of the 30 candidates he endorsed find themselves in the same situation. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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