According to an Education Week analysis, more than 100 teachers are in the running this year for a state legislative seat and they're campaigning to increase school funding.
Teachers have argued that the state needs a new revenue source for schools but the state's supreme court said a ballot question they backed was confusing and vague.
The Democratic candidate, Israel Romero, withdrew from the race just a few weeks before South Carolina voters decide whether to make the elected position of state schools chief an appointed one.
As the state rolls out a new school accountability system and a separate federal accountability system, disputes have flared between the state department and school board over which underperforming schools should get extra federal money.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who won his primary in a landslide, pledged to make sure districts are efficiently and effectively spending the money the state gives them.
The state has fought with the federal government and civil rights activists over how it holds schools accountable for some groups of students. Florida is the only state still without a federally approved plan.
Republican Diane Douglas originally ran on a platform of getting rid of the state's common core standards, but ended up in a legally fraught relationship with the state's board of education.
The ruling last week blocking a ballot measure that would have pumped $690 million more into schools has lit a match under an already combustible midterm election.
Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck differed sharply on issues such as how to improve teacher quality and how to get more money for California's schools.
Republican and Democratic candidates for governor in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and elsewhere are clashing over how (or whether) to shore up school districts' budgets.