These three political factors may be behind Capito’s vote
Why the difference between Collins and Murkowski, on the one hand, and Capito on the other? Consider these three factors: which candidate each state voted for, the senator’s national teacher’s union approval rating and the strength (or lack thereof) of the state teacher’s union.

1. In Alaska and Maine, fewer voters pulled the lever for the GOP presidential candidate in 2016 than in 2012. The opposite happened in West Virginia: GOP presidential vote share increased from 62.3 percent in 2012, to 68.7 percent in 2016. So Capito may be voting for Trump’s nominees because she believes her overwhelmingly pro-Trump voters want to give the president a free hand.

2.  Collins and Murkowski are the only Republican senators who received an “A” grade from the NEA in the 2013-14 congressional session. As a House member, Capito received a “C.” In the 2015-16 session, Collins and Murkowski are joined by Alexander as the only Republican senators with an “A” grade. Capito received a “B.”
The third reason is the weakened union issue posted above. I also think we might be seeing the woman/mother issue operating even among Republican women who sent kids to public schools and may have been the ones to take their kids to school every day. 

What do these numbers predict for the Trump’s legislation on student vouchers?

During the campaign, Trump proposed student vouchers in the education platform in his Contract with the American Voter. But passing any pro-voucher legislation in the Senate requires 60 votes — because that’s what it takes to prevent a filibuster and call for a floor vote on a bill.

Republicans have a 52-seat majority in the Senate. The roll call votes and the confirmation vote strongly indicate at least two Republican “nay” votes on any proposed pro-voucher legislation. 

Simply put, Republicans may not have the numbers to pass voucher legislation in the next two years.

Mona Vakilifathi is a PhD candidate at the University of California at San Diego. Her interests are in state politics, lawmaking and charter schools.