Tom Torlakson elected superintendent of public instruction

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Assemblyman Tom Torlakson will be the state’s next superintendent of public instruction after defeating former county superintendent Larry Aceves.


Torlakson is a Democratic assemblyman from Antioch. Aceves was a Democrat but registered as a decline-to-state voter earlier this year.

Torlakson’s campaign was boosted by teachers unions, which spent more on his campaign through independent expenditures than Torlakson raised himself. The California Teachers Assn. spent more than $2.1 million on Torlakson’s campaign. School administrators spent more than $1.5 million for Aceves, who also received the backing of NetFlix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, a former member of the state Board of Education.

Aceves is a relative unknown in California politics. He was the top vote-getter in a crowded June primary field, topping Torlakson, Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) and others.

The superintendent of public instruction, the only nonpartisan statewide elected official, oversees the Education Department. Torlakson will replace Democrat Jack O’Connell, who has held the post since 2002.

-- Anthony York