Barge was state school superintendent eight years ago when he chose to run for governor instead of reelection. After losing the gubernatorial primary, the Republican made the unusual decision to endorse Woods’ Democratic opponent. The feud continued over the next eight years as Barge ran unsuccessfully to get his job back in 2018 and then again this year when he lost by an even wider margin.
Woods, a former teacher and school administrator from rural Georgia, has said he wants to recruit more teachers and increase graduation rates by giving students more options than a purely academic path, for instance by offering more “career pathway” programs that allow a focus on job-related skills.
Searcy has long been a proponent of school choice, supporting charter schools and policies that make it easier to switch between schools in the same district and backing tax credit-funded private school scholarships.