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Voters appear to reelect three incumbents to Lexington School District One School Board

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) - Voters seem to have decided to keep three incumbents to represent them on Lexington County School District One’s School Board. They also elected an educator to fill the seat of the former board chair Cindy Smith who had decided to retire after 20 years. We use the word “seem” because the totals didn’t show the mail-in absentee ballots counted as of 1:06 a.m. Wednesday. Those numbers aren't showing in any race which could mean that all absentee ballots were listed in the absentee in person category. If that’s true, it doesn’t seem likely those will change the winners once they are counted.

When filing closed, 12 candidates had decided to run for the four open seats. Three of them were incumbents, seven were serious challengers, and two withdrew early in the race.

The race pitted newcomers Chris Rice, Reese McCurdy, Kathy Henson, Chelsea Snelgrove, Jason Hinton, Mike Griffin, and Travis Price against incumbents Anne Marie Green, Dr. Brent Powers, and Mike Anderson. Two other candidates, Carl Chase Jr. and Jenn Friedah, withdrew early on. Still, Freidah was on the ballot and 6,003 votes were cast in her favor.

Make no mistake about it, voters in that large district were very passionate about deciding who would lead their schools into the future. Many of the newcomers made it clear that they would not rubber stamps decisions already made by the school districts staff. The majority of the challengers also said they felt the staff did a good job but there was more work to do. Most proclaimed that with many of the staff’s decisions, they planned to trust but verify what was presented to them. In the end, that message didn’t bring the newcomers enough support to overcome that of the incumbents.

Other constituents feel the district and its staff do a wonderful job as evidenced by the positive numbers shown in many traditional educational measures. Test scores and graduation rates appear to be headed higher and many students leave District One and go straight into colleges and universities. Others are prepared to transition into high paying jobs with the necessary certifications in hand they earned while in high school. The Lexington District One Technology Center offers a large and varied amount of trade courses that can prepare students to go into fields like welding, law enforcement, firefighting, cosmetology, the health care industry, or food services just to name a few. That have also excelled in sports and have many teams that regularly compete at the state championship level.

Lexington County School District One is by far the largest in the county. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 27,300 students from pre-school-kindergarten to grade 12 with more than 3,900 employees. It includes 31 schools of which 17 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, 5 high schools, and a technology center.

After the polls closed Tuesday, voters had selected one new member to serve on the board for the next four years. They also returned three of the incumbents to the board. This is an at large race and the four candidates who received the four highest vote totals won the seats up for grabs.

These vote totals were as of 1:06 a.m. Wednesday. They were as follows:

1. Kathy Henson received 19,762 votes which represents 14.03 % of votes cast.

2. Anne Marie Green (I) received 19,734 votes which represents 14.01 % of votes cast.

3. Dr. Brent Powers (I) received 15,316 votes representing 10.88 % of votes cast.

4. Mike Anderson (I) received 13,701 votes which represents 9.73 % of votes cast.

These four were followed by:

5. Chris Rice who received 13,295 votes

6. Travis Price who received 12,260 votes

7. Reese McCurdy who received 10,988 votes

8. Mike Griffin who received 10,490 votes

9. Chelsea Snelgrove who received 10,891 votes

10.Jason Hinton who received 7,922 votes

Again, even though Jenn Friedah withdrew, she still appeared on the ballot and drew 6,003 votes. These votes could have had an effect on the four winners but that's hard to say definitively.

As a reminder, the mail-in absentee ballots were not shown in these totals. On the Registration & Elections Commissions website, those aren't shown as being counted in any race. Those votes may be added to the column of absentee votes that were made in person. It doesn’t appear as if they would change the totals enough to upset the election's winning order.


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