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Wake County School Board Chair Ousted, Other Incumbents Keep Seats In Election

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt

State Lawmakers' 2013 finagling with the Wake County election maps made it possible for high turnover on the largely Democratic school board this election. Voters weighed in on all nine school board offices. But six out of seven running incumbents kept their seats on Tuesday. Three ran unopposed, and three others won handily against their challengers.

The sole incumbent to lose was Democrat and Board Chair Tom Benton. In a tight race in Wake's relatively conservative District 1, Benton lost to Republican and former school system employee Don Agee. Agee worked for 27 years as a project manager for the district's facilities department. He has been critical of the district's spending on school construction, and says he thinks tax dollars can be spent more efficiently to accommodate the growing district.

Meanwhile, incumbents Monika Johnson-Hostler (District 2),  Keith Sutton (District 4) and Bill Fletcher (District 9) beat out their challengers.  Christine Kushner (District 6), Jim Martin (District 5) and Zora Felton (District 7) ran and won unopposed. 

Newcomer and Wake parent Lindsay Mahaffey will join the board. Mahaffey beat out several opponents to win the District 8 seat. The board is also getting back Roxie Cash (District 3), who served two terms from 1991-1999. Cash ran unopposed.

Wake County's school board offices are officially nonpartisan, but the current board members are all registered Democrats, except Bill Fletcher, the sole registered Republican. Tuesday's election means the board will soon have three Republicans: Fletcher, Agee and Cash.

Jess is WUNC's Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting. Her reporting focuses on how decisions made at the North Carolina General Assembly affect the state's students, families, teachers and communities.
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