Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat, will challenge incumbent state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson in a primary.
Atkinson, a Democrat in her second term, announced today that she is seeking re-election.
Glazier said he would do a better job than Atkinson at standing up to Republicans and would use the office as a bully pulpit to talk about the value of public education. Losing public education means losing "a real foundation of democracy," he said.
With data showing that 66 percent of students are not proficient in reading and the state is 49th in per pupil spending, "it's time to change what we're doing."
Initially, Glazier said he would run if Atkinson didn't. Here's his explanation of why he's in:
Glazier said he talked to Atkinson in October, and she told him she would make a decision by Thanksgiving. At that time, Glazier said, he was being asked to consider running for the office, and he agreed to defer if she made a decision by then.
Thanksgiving came and went and there was no Atkinson decision, Glazier said. The first time he heard for sure that she had decided to run was last week at Hunt Institute retreat for policy makers. That late notice didn't give anyone else who wanted to launch a serious campaign time to start work, he said.
"There comes a point at which you have to get prepared, you have to make a decision to move forward. You have to decide to go," he said.
Primary challenges against incumbents are somewhat rare. Glazier said he was looking forward to making his case.
"Being an incumbent does not entitle you in perpetuity to a job," he said.