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Education Elections Still Up in the Air in Washington State, Montana

As of Thursday morning, there are still a few outstanding education-related elections that haven't quite been clinched yet, although of course they could be called at any moment now.

In Washington State, Initiative 1240, which would allow up to 40 charter schools to open over the next five years, is ahead but hasn't yet clinched. As of late Tuesday night, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed's office reported that the initiative is up by about 46,000 votes and holds roughly a 51-49 margin. Close to 2.1 million votes have been counted. Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reports that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee is "making plans for a transition team" even though Republican Rob McKenna hasn't yet conceded. Right now, the official vote count gives Inslee a similar lead as the charter measure, 51-49, and his lead is about 49,000 votes. Remember, Inslee opposes charters, so it will be interesting to see how the executive branch of Washington State government deals with the growth of charters should Initiative 1240's winning margin hold up. The Times hasn't yet called the race for either Inslee or Initiative 1240.

In addition, incumbent Montana Superintendent Denise Juneau, a Democrat, holds a very thin lead over her Republican challenger Sandy Welch. On Thursday morning, Denise Juneau had exactly a 1,600-vote lead, giving her 50.09 percent of the ballots, compared to Welch's 49.75 percent. Juneau was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, so going from that big-time spotlight to a loss in her home state would be tough. But right now, nearly all (743 out of 795) precincts have reported, and 51 of the remaining precincts of "partially reported," according to Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch's office.

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