By | November 26, 2019

 By Greg Childress, NC Policy Watch

Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union

State Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican, says he’s 80 % to 90 % percent sure he’s running for state superintendent.

“At this point, I’m planning on filing,” Horn said.

The filing period for most 2020 contests opens at noon on Dec. 2 and closes Dec. 20 at noon.

Before officially tossing his hat into the ring, Horn said he needs to be certain that he can make a difference, that his family supports the decision and that he can raise the $500,000 he thinks it will take to be successful.

“The question is, how much money can a down-ticket candidate raise given the demands at the top of the ticket,” Horn said.

He said presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial candidates at the top of the Republican and Democratic tickets will ultimately drive up the cost of advertisement, mailers and other campaign expenses for candidate’s down ballot.

Even as Horn prepares to launch a campaign for superintendent, he makes no secret of the fact that he thinks the state’s top educator should be appointed by the governor.

“It does not make good sense to elect a superintendent of instruction,” Horn said. “What does make good sense is to go out and hire the best possible person in the country for that job, not the most popular person, not the person who fills a political need.”

According to the National Association of Educators, 37 states appoint state superintendents. North Carolina is one of 13 state that elect superintendents

To date, Horn is one of two Republicans to publicly express interest in replacing GOP colleague Mark Johnson as superintendent. The other is Western Governors University chancellor Catherine Truitt.

Johnson, the first Republican elected to the post in a century, has announced plans to run for lieutenant governor in 2020. He wants to replace Dan Forest who is running for governor.

Six Democrats announced plans to run for superintendent but educational consultant and former teacher Amy Jablonski of Raleigh will not seek the post.

The remaining Democrats include:

  • Charlotte educator and activist Constance Lav Johnson,
  • Wake County school board member Keith Sutton,
  • Michael Maher, assistant dean for professional education and accreditation at the College of Education at NC State University,
  • James Barrett, a Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board member, and
  • Jen Mangrum, a clinical associate professor in the School of Education at UNC-Greensboro who ran for a seat in the legislature last year against Senate leader Phil Berger.