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Challengers surprise school board incumbents in South Carolina, swipe open seats in North Dakota and show strength in Nevada

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June 11, 2014

By Nick Katers

School Board badge.png

Mark Sury and Charles King spoiled the party for two board members with large victories in South Carolina's Kershaw County School District on June 10, 2014. Sury and King defeated incumbents Nissary Wood and Donald Copley, respectively, by margins larger than 15 percent. Incumbents Shirley L. Halley and Kim Horton DuRant won re-election to their seats without opposition. Victories by Sury and King bucked the trend of relatively quiet elections in the county as four out of five seats were unopposed in 2012. The newcomers were the only two candidates to defeat incumbents in the five school board races that took place in America's largest school districts.

First-time candidates won four out of eight seats in Bismarck and Fargo though they will fill vacancies left by outgoing members. Karl Lembke joined incumbents Matthew Sagsveen and Scott Halvorson in fending off three other candidates in Bismarck. Voters in Fargo selected newcomers Jennifer Benson, Rebecca Knutson and David Paulson to join Linda Boyd and Dinah Goldenberg on the school board. North Dakota's elections only attracted 17 percent of eligible voters, the lowest turnout for a June election in the state since 1980.[1]

Nevada's primaries also featured scant voter turnout even with competitive races in Clark County School District and Washoe County School District. Incumbents Stavan Corbett, Carolyn Edwards and Erin E. Cranor advanced from their primaries to the general election on November 4, 2014. Two out of the three school board seats up for election in Washoe County will feature competitive races highlighted by the District F race. Six newcomers ran in the District F primary with Veronica Frenkel and Jim Shaw hoping to replace outgoing board member Estela Gutierrez. The Nevada Secretary of State announced a statewide voter turnout of 18.2 percent, just narrowly missing a record low of 18 percent set in the 2008 primary election.[2]

Spotlight: Clark County School District

Clark County School District logo.jpg

Voters in Clark County School District, Nevada made election night worrisome for two incumbents seeking re-election. Incumbent Stavan Corbett only received 36.5 percent in the District D primary and finished 10 percent ahead of challenger Kevin Child. Defeated candidates Wesley Cornwell and Charles Ware received a combined 37 percent of the vote, showing voter frustration with the current board. The hotly contested District G primary between incumbent Erin E. Cranor and challenger Joe Spencer will be replayed in the November general election. Cranor finished with 40 percent of the vote, only finishing six points ahead of Spencer. Spencer and losing candidate Ira Kimball heavily criticized Cranor for ethics issues during the primary and combined for 59.7 percent of the vote. District F incumbent Carolyn Edwards easily advanced to a general election race with Nick Smith by winning 55 percent of the vote. Corbett, Cranor and Edwards raised $55,000 out of the $69,000 raised in the primary campaign, leaving the incumbents with a substantial fundraising advantage.[3]


Note: An (i) next to a candidate's name indicates incumbent status.


Clark County School District
District D
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Kevin Child
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Stavan Corbett (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Wesley Cornwell
UncheckedBox.jpg Charles Ware

District F
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Carolyn Edwards (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Ileetha J. Groom
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Ralph Krauss

District G
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Erin E. Cranor (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Ira Kimball
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Joe Spencer

Washoe County School District
District B
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg John R. Mayer (i)

District C
UncheckedBox.jpg Carlos Cardoso
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Barbara Clark (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Nick Smith

District F
UncheckedBox.jpg Valerie Bourquin-Brown
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Veronica Frenkel
UncheckedBox.jpg Ronald A. King
UncheckedBox.jpg Rick Saake
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Jim Shaw
UncheckedBox.jpg John Wynn

North Dakota

Bismarck Public Schools
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Karl Lembke
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Matthew Sagsveen (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Rissa Williams
UncheckedBox.jpg Karalee Harper
UncheckedBox.jpg Michael A. Holly
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Scott Halvorson (i)

Fargo Public Schools
UncheckedBox.jpg Teri-Lee C. James
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Jennifer Benson
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg David Paulson
UncheckedBox.jpg Scott Dahms
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Rebecca Knutson
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Dinah Goldenberg (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Linda Boyd (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Ahmed Kamel
UncheckedBox.jpg Marty Livingood
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Martin
UncheckedBox.jpg Tyler Jon Anderson

South Carolina

Kershaw County School District
Seat 2
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Mark Sury
UncheckedBox.jpg Nissary Wood (i)

Seat 4
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Shirley L. Halley (i)

Seat 6
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Kim Horton DuRant (i)

Seat 8
UncheckedBox.jpg Donald Copley (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Charles King

See also