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Winners in Waynesboro School Board race surprised by outcome

November 04, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The dust settled Wednesday at the conclusion of a hotly contested Waynesboro Area School Board race that resulted in the election of three political newcomers.

Chris Lind, Bonnie Bachtell and Brenda Lucas won seats on the board by wide margins Tuesday.

Lind opposed incumbent Gregory Ochoa for the one open Washington Township seat on the board, whose members are elected by regions. Bachtell and Lucas ran alongside Stephanie Kober for two open seats from the Borough of Waynesboro.

Incumbent Leland Lemley was unopposed in the North End.

According to unofficial returns, Lind received 1,334 votes compared to 758 votes for Ochoa. Bachtell and Lucas each received 703 votes, and Kober received 436.

Lind and Lucas said they weren't confident at the end of polling.

"I'm still, in a way, shocked because I went home thinking I had lost," Lind said.

Lind and Lucas said they awoke to 11:30 p.m. phone calls saying they had been elected.

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"I had phone calls all night long," Lucas said.

Bachtell said she feels she benefited from name recognition, having been a kindergarten teacher for three decades. Also, she appeared on ballots as a "Democrat/Republican" after winning both parties' nominations in the spring primary, meaning she received more straight-ticket votes Tuesday.

"Thank you for those who placed their trust in my ability to serve. ... I look forward to serving our students in a new role," Bachtell said.

Lind said he assumed Bachtell would win a seat, and he thought Lucas, whom he called "independent" and "feisty," would fare well among Republican voters. Although Lucas was a registered Democrat, she appeared on ballots as a Republican because she won the GOP nomination in the spring.

"I pushed the financial issues," Lind said.

Lind said he and Ochoa talked cordially at the Church of the Apostles polling place, but Lind didn't approve of his opponent's voting record. Board members Firmadge Crutchfield and Ed Wilson gave their support to Lind and Lucas in the campaign, Lind said. They even paid for a rather large newspaper ad that called for support to Lind and Lucas.

"The feeling was we didn't need three more educators in," Lind said, referring to Bachtell's former employment, Ochoa's doctorate in educational leadership and Kober's teaching position at Renfrew Institute.

"They want something other than educators," Lucas said. "They want an honest person in there who will work for the future."

Lucas blamed "the educators" for starting a rumor that she would resign quickly after starting her tenure on the board, saying they wanted to push her out of the election.

"I'm strong-willed, and I'm going to stay in there," she said.

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