Though there were clear winners determined in most of the five school board seats up for election, the Post 5 Board of Education race will head into a runoff between the two top vote getters - Tony Dowdy and Willie J. Washington.
In the four-way race, Dowdy received 46 percent, or 6,783 votes, while Washington recevied 23 percent, or 3,350, followed by Cornell Brown with 21 percent and Rodney Fanner with 11 percent.
Dowdy said he was not surprised there was a runoff, since there were four candidates. "It was very encouraging that I got the majority of the vote," he said. "We’ve just got to figure out how to get everyone back out to vote again August 21.
"I wish my opponent well. It’s not easy to run in this day and time. I think he’s an honorable opponent."
Upon hearing the final results at the Board of Elections office, Washington broke into a smile. "I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the runoff," he said. "There’s more work to do but I’m pleased with where we are at this point."
The nonpartisan runoff will be on August 21.
In the Post 1 race, accountant Mandy North received 65 percent of the vote, or 9,915, to nonprofit manager Charcella Green's 34 percent, or 5,218.
North said, the next morning, "I’m thrilled that I won. I’m excited about getting to work on the school board. I feel like I’m able to give back to the community and hit the ground running."
In Post 2, incumbent Brad Smith won 78 percent of the vote, 8,443, while Kim Baker had 30 percent, 4,418, and Tim Williams followed with 12 percent, or 1720.
Smith looked relieved as the final results came in and said he was looking forward to another term. "I’m thankful for the citizens for their confidence in allowing me to serve for another four years," he said. "Everybody was telling me, don’t worry, you’ll do fine. But you never know until the vote comes in."
In Post 4, Sharon Pharr had 58 percent, or 8,614, while Dr. Darrell Stephens had 42 percent, or 6,194 votes.
Pharr later came to the Board of Elections office after awaiting the results at Los Bravos with BOC 1 candidate Sam Smiley. "I’m relieved," she said. "I’m overwhelmed at the moment. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be an important four years and I’ve got a lot to learn."
At the end of the evening, Smith and Pharr spoke a little on the training for new board members.