Though there are about 2 million ballots left to count, reform candidate Marshall Tuck has conceded to Tony Thurmond in the race for state superintendent of public instruction.

Tuck sent this statement to his supporters:

“Given it has become clear that we are not going to win this campaign, I felt it was in the best interest of California’s children for me to concede now so that Assemblymember Thurmond has as much time as possible to plan to take over as State Superintendent.”

Thurmond, who represents the Richmond area in the Assembly, tweeted Saturday that Tuck has called him and conceded. Both Thurmond and Tuck are Democrats.

The most recent vote tally provided by the secretary of state showed Thurmond with 4,659,927 votes for 50.8%. Tuck stood at 4,504,380 and 49.2%.

Photo of Marshall Tuck

“Given it has become clear that we are not going to win this campaign, I felt it was in the best interest of California’s children for me to concede now so that Assemblymember Thurmond has as much time as possible to plan to take over as State Superintendent.” — Marshall Tuck

“I intend to be a champion of public schools and a Superintendent for all California students,” said Thurmond said in a statement. “I ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction to deliver to all Californians the promise that public education delivered to me – that all students, no matter their background and no matter their challenges, can succeed with a great public education.”

Most Expensive Superintendent’s Race in U.S. History

It was the second consecutive narrow loss for the office by Tuck. He fell to incumbent Tom Torlakson in 2014.

The race was the most expensive state superintendent election in U.S. history, with a cast of billionaires heavily supporting Tuck, a former charter schools executive.

Tuck was boosted by more than $32 million in outside spending. The largest individual donor backing him was Bill Bloomfield, who spent nearly $6 million to support Tuck.

Groups backing Thurmond spent more than $12 million in independent expenditures, with more than $8 million of that coming from the California Teachers Association. The rest largely came from the California Democratic Party and other unions, including the California Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union.

By way of comparison just over $1 million was spent in independent expenditures in the California U.S. Senate race between incumbent Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de Leon, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tuck raised more than $5 million in direct campaign contributions, while Thurmond netted $3.1 million.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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