I have been watching the website of the California Secretary of State to follow the close contest between Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck. The polls and pundits predicted that Tuck would win.

When the polls first closed, Tuck had an early lead, but millions of votes had not been counted. In California, mail-in ballots postmarked on the day of the election must be counted, and they are still being counted.

After election day, Thurmond went into the lead, then Tuck came back, then Thurmond opened up a lead of 65,000-85,000 votes. That lead has held steady over the past couple of days as the vote total grows.

The vote is not final, and the numbers obviously could change in the days ahead.

Thurmond is winning heavily in Los Angeles (the city that should be Marshall Tuck’s base, where the most charters are located) and in San Francisco, which is Thurmond’s base.

On October 28, EdSource in California reported that at least $50 million had been raised for the race, and that Tuck had outraised Thurmond by 2-1.

When all the reports are in, the total amount of spending will surely be even more.

Thurmond was backed by the California Teachers Association and labor unions, meaning that his campaign was paid for by the dues of working people.

Here is a partial list of Tuck donors, a veritable Who’s Who of the school choice movement:

Bill Bloomfield: $6.761 million

Bloomfield is a billionaire Republican mega-donor who has become a charter school advocate.

The Walton Family: $5.138 million

Walmart billionaires

Eli Broad: $3.2 million

The Los Angeles billionaire who believes in closing public schools and privatizing them into charters.

Arthur Rock: $3.2 million

A California venture capitalist and billionaire who gives millions to Teach for America

Doris Fisher: $3.1 million

A billionaire, thanks to The Gap and Old Navy; the family gives heavily to KIPP

Richard Riordan: $2 million

The former Mayor of Los Angeles

These were the totals as of October 28. We will have to wait a few weeks for a complete accounting.

Undoubtedly these donors could have given twice or three times as much, but must have decided that it might embarrass Tuck to have three times as much money as Thurmond. Twice as much should have been enough.

One thing is certain. This is the most expensive contest in history for the job of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a job that pays $175,000 and has limited authority.

The symbolic importance of this race, however, cannot be overstated. If the charter lobby prevails in a deep blue state, it can prevail in every state. It already owns Governor Cuomo in New York (but lost control of the State Legislature, when progressive candidates ousted fake Democrats in the State Senate). It tried and failed to lift the charter cap in Massachusetts in 2016, routed in a public referendum, even though the Governor and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is in the hands of the charter industry.

So, we will continue to keep a close watch on California, where the teachers and the charter billionaires are in a face-off.