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Incumbents, Williams lead in Washington County Board of Education race

November 07, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Political newcomer Melissa Williams and the three Washington County Board of Education incumbents running for re-election were leading the race for four seats on the school board, according to unofficial results from early voting and with 54 of 54 precincts reporting Tuesday night.

With five candidates vying for four seats on the seven-member school board, only one candidate will be left without a seat.

Incumbent Justin Hartings and political newcomer and local attorney Travis Poole were the two candidates with the least amount of votes as of presstime.

Hartings had 24,995 votes and Poole had 21,526 votes, according to incomplete and unofficial results from early voting and with 54 of 54 precincts reporting.

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However, the 3,340 absentee ballots issued by the Washington County Board of Elections could change who are the top four vote-getters. As of Tuesday, at least 2,177 of those absentee ballots had been returned. The first round of absentee ballots will be counted Thursday.

Neither Hartings nor Poole could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Incumbent Donna Brightman was the top vote-getter as of presstime.

Brightman had 32,815 votes with early voting and 54 of 54 precincts reporting.

“It’s certainly always better to be in this position than another,” but with several precincts still to report and the number of absentee ballots issued the results were not final, Brightman said with about half the precincts in.

Brightman said she spent part of Tuesday night at Dan’s Restaurant and Taphouse in Boonsboro, watching election results with family, friends and campaign workers.

Incumbent and current board president Wayne Ridenour had the second-most votes, with 27,312 votes, and political newcomer and retired school system employee Williams had 26,792 votes.

“I’m very grateful for those who have worked so hard in support of me,” Williams said. “My desire and my commitment to serve Washington County is stronger than ever. I’m hopeful that things will turn out in my favor. And if that’s the case, I’m ready and eager to join the newly elected board and get started on the work ahead.”

If she does not win a seat on the board, Williams said she will still be anxious and eager to support the newly elected board. Williams was at Always Ron’s Restaurant in Hagerstown with friends on Tuesday night.

Because there were only five candidates for four seats, the nonpartisan school board race was not on the primary election ballot in April.

The fourth school board seat that was open this general election was that of W. Edward Forrest, who decided not to run for re-election.

The top four vote-getters will be sworn in on Dec. 4.

School board members elected this November will serve four-year terms and will be paid $6,100 per year.

If one of the newly elected members becomes board president, the annual salary will be $6,200. A salary increase kicked in starting with board members elected in 2010.

Washington County Board of Education

Donna L. Brightman (i) — 32,815
Wayne D. Ridenour (i) — 32,437
Melissa Williams — 31,949
Justin Hartings (i) — 28,756
Travis W. Poole — 24,523

Washington County — With early voting and 54 of 54 precincts reporting and early voting results
Candidates with (i) next to their names are incumbents.

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