DeSantis rolls out school board targets for 2024 election cycle

by | Feb 22, 2023

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to target fourteen school board members in the 2024 election cycle across nine counties in Florida.
  • Many of the targeted school board members pledged support for mask mandates through the COVID-19 pandemic and hold opposing views compared to state leaders.
  • The governor found success in endorsing 34 school board candidates in the last election cycle, with 29 emerging victorious, including key victories in Duval and Miami-Dade counties.

Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a list on Tuesday evening of more than a dozen school board members he plans to target in the 2024 election cycle, as first reported by Fox News.

Continuing his campaign’s emphasis on education, the governor is honing in on removing fourteen left-leaning school board members across Brevard, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, St. Lucie, Volusia, and Sarasota counties.

According to the full list of individuals published by The Florida Standard, many of the targeted individuals pledged support for mask mandates through the COVID-19 pandemic and hold opposing educational viewpoints compared to state leaders.

Fox News writes that DeSantis met with Florida House Speaker Paul Renner and Moms for Liberty co-founders Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice in a meeting to outline the governor’s administration’s plan to oust the fourteen school board members and push the ‘DeSantis Education Agenda.’

According to the governor’s Political Action Committee, The DeSantis Education Agenda is a “student-first, parent-centered initiative focused on setting Florida’s children up for success, ensuring parental rights in education, and combatting the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools.” 

DeSantis has undertaken various legislative actions in recent years to further his agenda, including the Parental Rights in Education bill, the Stop ‘WOKE’ Act, and funding to launch the state-sponsored civics education curriculum.

“Florida’s school boards need members who will defend our students and stand up for parental rights and will ensure Florida’s children are protected from woke ideology in their classrooms. I am proud to stand by each of them,” said DeSantis last year.

DeSantis found success in taking the unprecedented step of endorsing 34 school board candidates last election cycle, with 29 emerging victorious.

Key DeSantis victories were tallied in Duval and Miami-Dade counties, with the latter undergoing an ideological flip from liberal-leaning to conservative. The two counties were notably part of the coalition that defied the governor’s mask mandate prohibition during the pandemic.

Attempts to reach the Office of the Governor for comment went unanswered. The full list of targeted individuals is as follows:

Jennifer Jenkins – Brevard County, District 3

Kelly Coker and Cindy Pearson – Duval County, Districts 1 and 3

Nadia Combs and Jessica Vaughn – Hillsborough County, Districts 1 and 3

Peggy Jones and Brian Barefoot – Indian River County, Districts 3 and 5

Luisa Santos – Miami-Dade County, District 9

Laura Hine and Eileen Long – Pinellas County, Districts 1 and 4

Jack Kelly – St. Lucie County, District 2

Anita Burnette and Carl Persis – Volusia County, Districts 2 and 4

Tom Edwards – Sarasota County, District 3


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