A Good Election Day for Teacher Unions, Marred Only by Wasted $5.3 Million

Democrats were victorious just about everywhere on Election Day 2017, which means teacher union officers are celebrating just about everywhere. The results were so uniformly good it only made the race in New Jersey’s 3rd Senate District stand out all the more.

That’s where NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney holds his seat. Sweeney is a Democrat and an officer of the ironworkers union, but the brain trust at the New Jersey Education Association hates him so much because of his position on pension reform that they endorsed and financed his opponent, Fran Grenier, a pro-Trump Republican.

To the surprise of no one, Sweeney easily won re-election by 18 points. NJEA spent an estimated $5.3 million on the race, which comes to $238.70 for each vote Grenier received.

But there was no chagrin at NJEA headquarters. The union released a statement patting itself on the back for a job well done, stating Grenier’s “insurgent campaign electrified New Jersey politics and energized NJEA members, who remain determined to endorse and campaign for pro-public education candidates regardless of party affiliation.”

We’ll see how energized NJEA members are at the union’s convention in Atlantic City on tomorrow and Friday. But I suspect that the overall good news will dampen any criticism of how NJEA managed to spend the full dues allotment of about 6,000 members on a quixotic campaign.