At some point during his campaign for state school superintendent, Sec. of Education Ryan Walters realized it probably wasn’t the best move to target teachers nor specific school districts.

You can’t really go after the electorate in an election.

Think Hillary Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” gaffe.

So, Walters and Gov. Kevin Stitt changed the tune a bit and started to say it isn’t so much liberal teachers trying to turn kids “woke” but instead liberal teacher’s unions pulling the strings.

That probably worked on some folks.

Most of us hopefully know better.

Even though there has been a lot of bombastic language in his campaign, it hasn’t been so much about Walters has said. It hasn’t been about his actions nor lack of experience. If he loses this election, even if he barely wins this election, it won’t be because of his anti-LGBTQ stance. It won’t be his lack of leadership during the pandemic. Not his name-calling. Not his Critical Race Theory fear mongering. It won’t even be because of the botched distribution of federal education funds.

No, it’s his unwillingness to drop the charter school issue that hurts Walters the most.

Almost more than a Republican-Democrat squabble, the battle seems to be drawn between urban and rural lines. When Walters, Stitt and Senate leader Greg Treat tried to get their education saving accounts going at the start of the last session, rural Republicans wouldn’t even hear it.

Why, at this point, would they continue to persist unless they were beholden to the charter and private school boosters?

Public money should not go to private schools, especially schools that have the option to reject children on a whim.

Lifelong Republicans are going to be voting against Walters. That should be a wakeup call.

Walters may lose this race because of that singular issue but even if he wins, we hope he comes to realize that the win is not an endorsement of the voucher system.

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