Jacob Rosecrants, D, Oklahoma City middle school teacher, won the special election for Oklahoma House District 46 on September 12. He had run and lost last November against the incumbent, Representative Scott Martin who resigned at the end of the 2017 Session. HD46 serves west Norman and Noble, Oklahoma in Cleveland County.
This year, Rosecrants ran against a candidate financed by the American Federation for Children, once run by Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. The local Oklahoma Federation for Children funded a series of last-minute mailers on behalf of Rosecrants’ opponent, Republican Darin Chambers, after making it clear he had their support when he won his Republican primary.
This is not AFC and OFC’s first experience influencing elections in Oklahoma. During the general election cycle ending last November, OFC, funded by AFC, funneled $190,000 to voucher-friendly candidates, and actively opposed the “Teacher Caucus” in Oklahoma, a group of Republican and Democrat educators and family members who ran to raise awareness of education funding issues in the state. Few of the so-called “Teacher Caucus” candidates were successful, including Rosecrants.
Education-friendly candidates have won the last several special elections in Oklahoma, but it is too soon to draw any conclusions about the future direction of education funding and policy making based on these elections. Journalists are watching developments.
Rosecrants described his win as ‘bittersweet’, because according to Oklahoma law, he must resign his teaching position. He will be sworn in soon, and will begin serving in the House for the Special Session beginning September 25.