The filing period for Wake County school board candidates ended Wednesday with four of the nine races on the Nov. 8 ballot uncontested.
A total of 18 candidates filed after the filing period was reopened last week to comply with a federal judge’s order that elections be held in November using existing district maps instead of those drawn by state lawmakers.
Incumbents Zora Felton, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin and former board member Roxie Cash have no opposition in their respective districts.
Sixteen candidates had met the July 1 filing deadline under the new maps that legislators had approved in 2013. But a federal appeals court declared those maps unconstitutional, paving the way for the second filing period under the maps the school board had adopted in 2011.
Felton didn’t file previously because the state’s maps put her in the same district as Kushner.
“Having four unopposed candidates reflects that people want stability,” Kushner said. “It also reflects the change in the refiling.
“By refiling, I’m glad to have the opportunity to serve on the school board. We still have a lot of work to do.”
The large number of unopposed races means it’s not as likely this fall’s elections will change the direction of the board. The officially nonpartisan board currently consists of seven Democrats, one Republican and one unaffiliated member. They all generally agree on issues.
Candidates will run in November for two-year seats instead of the traditional four-year terms. This will give the General Assembly an opportunity next year to redraw the Wake maps for use in 2018.
Seven of the nine board members filed for re-election. Kevin Hill, who was first elected in 2007, opted not to run again in favor of Cash, who served on the board from 1991 to 1999. Susan Evans is running this fall for a seat in the state Senate.
Many of the candidates had filed during the initial filing period. But some new candidates emerged after the 2011 maps were restored.
Lindsay Mahaffey, a substitute teacher in Wake, said she decided over the summer to file for the District 8 seat in southwest Wake that’s being vacated by Evans. She’s running against two other political newcomers: Gary Lewis and Gil Pagan.
“I’m an educator and I think I can bring my own perspective to the board, and since Susan was leaving I saw this as an opportunity to pursue it,” Mahaffey said.
Unlike past elections, candidates don’t have to win a majority to win outright. There’s no longer a runoff, so a candidate only needs a plurality to win Nov. 8.
Wake County school board candidates
District 1: Donald Agee, Mary Beth Ainsworth, Tom Benton (incumbent), Sheila W. Ellis
District 2: Peter Hochstaetter, Mark A. Ivey, Monika Johnson-Hostler (incumbent)
District 3: Roxie Cash
District 4: Heather Elliott, Keith Sutton (incumbent)
District 5: Jim Martin (incumbent)
District 6: Christine Kushner (incumbent)
District 7: Zora S. Felton (incumbent)
District 8: Gary Lewis, Lindsay Mahaffey, Gil Pagan
District 9: Bill Fletcher (incumbent), Michael Tanbusch
Go to http://bit.ly/1PyoGXG to see what district you can vote in on Nov. 8.