BOISE -- The Idaho Education Association's decision to endorse Rep. Mike Simpson in his campaign against Democrat Nicole LeFavour is raising some eyebrows. The controversy centers in part around the candidates' positions on Superintendent Tom Luna's education reform.
The Idaho Education Association has been against Luna's education reform, and so has state Senator Nicole LeFavour, who voted against the proposals. But now the IEA is voting against LeFavour.
"We support Nicole LeFavour and have always supported her. But we need to stick with the person who has done a good job for us," said IEA President Penni Cyr.
That person is Rep. Mike Simpson. The IEA's political action committee voted to endorse Simpson in the 2012 election over LeFavour. Cyr says the move is based on Simpson's tenure and voting record.
"You don't change ships midsail. We have supported Congressman Simpson for 12 years. He has been good for many issues in public education. He has been a voice, a person we can contact, has always had an open door policy," said Cyr.
A look at the National Education Association's Congressional Report Card shows mixed reviews for Rep. Simpson. He earned an "A" for the 2007-2008 session. However one year later, his overall support for public education earned him an "F" by the NEA.
"I work tirelessly in support of the IEA and will continue to do that. I guess I find it very surprising that they would say his record was a reason to support him," said LeFavour.
The IEA says while in Congress, Simpson has voted against vouchers and has strongly opposed defunding public education.
But it's his support in Idaho of Superintendent Luna's education reform that has LeFavour and others on social media questioning the union's endorsement.
"I think, like a lot of teachers around the state, I was disappointed in the decision," said LeFavour.
LeFavour says Simpson contributed $1,000 to Luna's election campaign. However, the IEA says the contribution was made in 2010 before Luna made the proposal for education reform.
LeFavour says despite the disappointment, she will continue to support the IEA.