Challenger Debbie Critchfield maintained a sizable lead in the Republican primary election for state superintendent after 60% of precincts reported.

Debbie Critchfield greets a well-wisher at the Idaho Republican Party’s Tuesday night celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Boise.

Based on numbers early Wednesday morning, Critchfield held the line over fellow challenger Branden Durst and two-term superintendent Sherri Ybarra. Critchfield approached 89,000 votes compared to Durst’s nearly 70,000. Ybarra trailed Durst, with just over 59,000 votes.

But votes were still being tallied early Wednesday, with 27 of Idaho’s 44 counties fully reporting and 10 partially reporting.

“We feel positive about the returns that we’re seeing,” said Critchfield at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. “We’re grateful to the voters around the state who believe in our message of putting Idaho’s kids first.”

Ybarra has held office for seven years, Critchfield has served as president of the State Board of Education and Durst is a former Idaho senator.

Critchfield, who by far outraised — and outspent — Durst and Ybarra in recent months, has positioned herself as a change agent with years of experience in K-12. Durst, a Democratic legislator turned conservative hardliner, has courted right-wing Republicans and Ybarra has touted her experience on the job and in the classroom to try and sway voters.

Go here for a preview of and links to EdNews’ coverage of the race and the historic May 17 primary, which carries big implications for K-12, possible shakeups in statewide offices and 105 legislative seats up for grabs.

The winner of tonight’s state superintendent’s race will go on to face the sole Democrat running, Terry Gilbert, in the November general election.

EdNews will watch results through the night and update this story. Check our homepage for the latest live results on the superintendent’s race and other statewide offices, including governor and lieutenant governor.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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