An education advocacy group that typically supports Democrats endorsed Republican Rob McKenna for governor Friday, saying he has concrete proposals to improve outcomes for students.
Stand for Children Washington said McKenna, the state’s attorney general, was aligned with the group’s policy goals. He drew the support of board member Jennifer Vranek, a lifelong Democrat who acknowledged struggling with the decision to back McKenna.
“The fact is that party labels just aren’t a good enough reason to not endorse the right champion for education,” Vranek said. “I was really impressed with McKenna’s depth of knowledge and passion about education. We’re looking for a change agent, and after the interviews it was clear that Rob McKenna will prioritize education and get better results for our kids.”
Stand for Children endorsed Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire in the 2008 election. The group also gave 19 legislative endorsements to Democrats that year, compared to six for Republicans.
McKenna has said he wants to shrink other areas of state government in order to dedicate more funding to education. He also supports charter schools and linking teacher pay to student success – two things that Democrats and the teachers union have typically opposed.