Weaver holds lead in SC education superintendent’s race

Ellen Weaver had an 8-point lead over Lisa Ellis with 53% of the vote as of 10:40 p.m., with 56% of precincts reporting.
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 10:02 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2022 at 11:28 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - With more than half of precincts reporting, the Republican candidate is maintaining a lead over her Democratic challenger to lead South Carolina schools for the next four years.

Ellen Weaver had an 8-point lead over Lisa Ellis with 53% of the vote as of 10:40 p.m., with 56% of precincts reporting.

For much of the evening, the two candidates were within one point of each other as the early returns began coming in.

The race for state superintendent of education is one of the most closely watched tonight in South Carolina.

Current Superintendent Molly Spearman did not seek reelection.

Weaver has never been a teacher, but previously served as the chair of the state’s Education Oversight Committee and heads the conservative think tank Palmetto Promise Institute.

She says that leadership and management experience is necessary for the state superintendent. Weaver also recently completed course requirements to receive her Master’s degree from Bob Jones University. A Master’s degree is a requirement for state superintendent job that she hadn’t satisfied before running.

Weaver has vowed to raise teacher pay, get parents more involved in education, and keep what she calls political indoctrination out of South Carolina classrooms.

She’s also a big supporter of school choice and voucher programs, giving families public dollars to send their kids to private schools, and says she’ll increase transparency for how public education money is spent.

Ellis has spent more than 20 years working in schools, mainly as a teacher, and says that experience is needed for this role.

She says her top priority is improving teacher retention rates by increasing salaries, hiring more staff and eliminating unnecessary paperwork and policies. She says that would allow teachers to spend more time building lesson plans and engaging with students.

Republicans have held this position for over a decade. The last time a Democrat won this race or any statewide race in South Carolina was 16 years ago.