State School Superintendent Race Could Get Even More Interesting

February 24, 2014 13:32 pm

by Tim Darnell · 4 comments

… That is, if Michael Thurmond decides to get in, possibly making a decision as soon as this week.

Michael Thurmond, interim DeKalb school superintendent

Michael Thurmond, interim DeKalb school superintendent

On Sunday night, I reached out to both Thurmond and Georgia Democratic Party chair DuBose Porter, but didn’t hear back from them, likely due to the lateness of the hour.

I know that Porter is officially supposed to carry a candidate-neutral stance.  But to his credit, the chairman is wisely supporting candidates who have a chance of respectable electoral showings [i.e., Michelle Nunn instead of Steen Miles, et al].

And Thurmond definitely qualifies in that regard, automatically becoming the favorite to win the Democratic primary. State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan is the only Democrat of note who is seeking John Barge’s job, and she has no chance against whoever wins the GOP nod (for a Republican incumbent, Barge has a lot of people from his own party who want his job.)

Thurmond took over as interim DeKalb school superintendent after the system was on the verge of losing accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. By most accounts, he’s done all the right things — countless meetings with parents, students and teachers to restore confidence in the system, working with a new school board after Gov. Deal removed a majority of them for their childish bickering and incompetence, etc.

Sure, there’s been bumps along the way, and Thurmond has taken his share of hits. But the former Labor Commissioner knows the game of politics more than most, and he’s got an enviable network of supporters stretching back over several decades.

We’ll see if he wants to finish what he started in DeKalb, or get back in the game of statewide politics.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

DeKalb Inside Out February 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

According to Jim Galloway, Thurmond decided not to run and spent the day at the capitol trying to convince the legislators to keep the 9 board seats. Thurmond spent his first week on the job down at the capitol trying to prevent the old board from being removed.

Tom Taylor February 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm

At the DeKalb delegation meeting today, Michael Thurmond stated that he would NOT be running for State School Superintendent.

And the previous post is exactly correct.

Bottom line, he would be taking about a 50% pay cut if he won the election.

His current deal with DeKalb is $275,ooo salary, $3600 per month in UNVOUCHRED expenses (no receipts required), and $800 per month car allowance. Why would he want to run for an office that would cut his pay and make him work harder?

Mike Hassinger February 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm

From Galloway: “Thurmond said a pay cut didn’t enter into his decision. He’d already taken one last year, when he took his DeKalb job.”

ryanhawk February 24, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Why do you think Alisha Thomas Morgan has “no chance” in the general? I would say she is one of the only Democrats that would have a chance. Matched against a status quo friendly Republican (say, Richard Wood) she would pull significant support from charter/choice Republicans.