Gary B. Hunter

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Gary B. Hunter
Gary B. Hunter.jpg
Board member, Newport News School Board, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionMay 6, 2014
First electedMay 6, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sHampton University
ProfessionBank vice president
Campaign website
Gary B. Hunter campaign logo
Gary B. Hunter is the member-elect for the at-large seat on the Newport News School Board in Virginia. He won election to the board against fellow challenger Rick E. Jones, Jr. in the general election on May 6, 2014.

The at-large election took a few unexpected turns only 24 hours after the polls closed. Rick E. Jones, Jr. won the election by 47 votes based on unofficial results on the night of the election. An audit by city officials on May 7, 2014 found that Hunter actually won the election by 40 votes. Jones filed a request for an additional recount in the Newport News Circuit Court on May 16, 2014. State law allows candidates to seek recounts if they have lost by less than one percent of the vote.[1] The Newport News Elections Board affirmed Hunter's victory on June 13, 2014 after a final recount.[2]


Hunter earned his B.S. in business management from Hampton University. He has worked at Langley Federal Credit Union for three decades and currently serves as assistant vice president. Hunter serves on boards for the Newport News Redevelopment & Housing Authority and the Economic Development Authority/Industrial Development Authority. He and his wife, Sylvia, have two children currently attending district schools.[3]



See also: Newport News Public Schools elections (2014)


Gary B. Hunter sought election against Curtis D. Bethany III and Rick E. Jones, Jr. in the general election on May 6, 2014. At-large incumbent Debbie Johnston did not file for re-election by the March 4, 2014 deadline.


Newport News Public Schools, At-Large General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGary B. Hunter 40.3% 3,569
     Nonpartisan Rick E. Jones, Jr. 39.8% 3,529
     Nonpartisan Curtis D. Bethany III 19.2% 1,698
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.8% 67
Total Votes 8,863
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, "Official Results - General and Special Elections - May 6, 2014," May 6, 2014


Hunter reported $4,847.00 in contributions and $652.50 in expenditures to the Virginia State Board of Elections, leaving his campaign with $4,194.50 on hand prior to the election.[4]


Hunter was endorsed by the Daily Press for the May 6, 2014 general election.[5]

Campaign themes


Hunter explained his reasons for running in 2014 on his campaign website:

As a candidate for Newport News Public School Board, Member-At-Large, Hunter believes that his experience as a businessman, community volunteer, and parent will make him an excellent choice. His mission is to Enhance the Educational Opportunities for All Students. His belief is that by teaching our children today, they will be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Hunter is an advocate for equal assess of resources for all children, ensuring the preparedness of students to have the essential life-skills needed to be citizen-ready, and understanding the needs of the teachers, students, and parents to make Newport News Public Schools a front-runner in education.


—Gary B. Hunter's campaign website, (2014), [3]

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

April 24 candidate forum

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference held a candidate forum at the district's administration building on April 24, 2014. The forum featured tense discussions between moderators Bill Thomas and Pat Woodbury and candidates answering questions about academic performance, student assessments and anti-gang efforts in the district. Board member Jeff Stodghill stated that the district had made progress on improving academic performance over the past four years. Thomas, the director of government relations at Hampton University, criticized Stodghill's optimistic view and cited poor performance by students at local colleges as an example of the district's struggles. Curtis D. Bethany III expressed concerns about the difficulty level of the state's Standard of Learning assessments, which led Thomas to state that state assessment examples he reviewed were simple.[7]

Woodbury, a member of the Newport News City Council, questioned candidates about the school board's willingness to support the city's anti-gang violence initiatives. She suggested that district officials discourage teachers from seeking disciplinary action against students to avoid damaging the district's reputation. Board member Betty Bracey Dixon argued that gang activity is more commonplace in district schools than is reported. Fellow incumbent Pricillia E. Burnett advocated for alternative education options for gang members rather than seeking criminal punishment.[7]

About the district

See also: Newport News Public Schools, Virginia
Newport News Public Schools is located in Newport News, Virginia
Newport News Public Schools is located in Newport News, a city in eastern Virginia. According to the United States Census Bureau, Newport News is home to 180,726 residents.[8] Newport News Public Schools is the ninth-largest school district in Virginia, serving 29,948 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[9]


Newport News underperformed in comparison to the rest of Virginia in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 23.9 percent of Newport News residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 34.7 percent for Virginia as a whole. The median household income in Newport News was $50,744 compared to $63,636 for the state of Virginia. The poverty rate in Newport News was 14.5 percent compared to 11.1 percent for the entire state.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2010[8]
Race Newport News (%) Virginia (%)
White 49.0 68.6
Black or African American 40.7 19.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.4
Asian 2.7 5.5
Two or More Races 4.3 2.9
Hispanic or Latino 7.5 7.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[10]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 64.3 34.2
2008 63.9 35.2
2004 51.9 47.4
2000 51.5 46.7

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[11]

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See also

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