Americans for Prosperity is claiming victory for helping unseat three pro-Common Core school board incumbents in Williamson County. One additional candidate ran in an open seat on an anti-Core platform. The billionaire Koch Brothers-backed group spent $500,000 across the state on ads attacking the Common Core standards, and an AFP spokesman says the campaign offers just a foretaste of what’s to come from the group.
The statewide ads tied Common Core to President Obama — and even Obamacare. The ads said several other states have pushed back against the standards, and it’s now time for Tennessee to do the same.
Listen to the radio ad here:
The minute-long radio spots were generic and could’ve aired in any state. But the mailers Americans for Prosperity sent specifically pointed to the candidates who would, as they say, “Stop Common Core.”
Williamson County Board member Rick Wimberly, who was not up for re-election, wrote last month that this year’s race was the most politically charged he’s seen in nearly three decades.
Andrew Ogles, who heads AFP in Tennessee, said the group plans on ramping up its assault against Common Core, efforts that he says will head into the next legislative session.
It’s unclear how much of the $500,000 the groups asserts it spent was dedicated to the Williamson County races. AFP is a “social welfare” group, a type of tax-exempt organization that doesn’t have to reveal its donors, nor does the group have to file financial disclosure forms to state officials.
Last spring, Tennessee lawmakers agreed to delay the test connected to Common Core by one year. The move was billed as a compromise intended to offer Tennessee some time to figure out to what degree the state will embrace the standards.
Even though Gov. Bill Haslam, who supports Common Core, lobbied against the bill, he signed it into law in May.