As previously reported, the 4th Circuit threw out Wake county’s voting maps this past July, even though the maps had survived two prior legal challenges. This sent Wake county election officials and legislators scrambling to find a remedy.
The 4th Circuit ruling had implied that perhaps no elections should be held in Wake county this November, stating that, “We see no reason why the November 2016 elections should proceed under the unconstitutional plans we strike down today.”
2011 maps versus the redistricted maps:
This move sent election officials and legislators scrambling to salvage the November election. It also meant many candidates were now out of a race and refiling would be required.
The matter was taken up by Federal Court Judge James Dever III, who had been the judge who originally upheld the constitutionality of the Wake maps. Dever re-opened the filing for the Wake school board race on August 9th.
In August, Judge James Dever III ruled that the 2011 maps would have to be used for the 2016 election, however this was an ‘interim’ remedy. Dever’s order leaves room for legislators to take another whack at redistricting when they return to the General Assembly.
As a result of Dever’s ruling, all nine school board seats will be on the ballot in November, however now four are running unopposed. Each of those elected will serve two-year terms and this election is by plurality, meaning there will be no run-off races.
By the 2011 districts being used this November, here are the candidates. An asterisk denotes incumbent.
District 1: Donald Agee, Mary Beth Ainsworth, Tom Benton*, Sheila W. Ellis
District 2: Peter Hochstaetter, Mark A. Ivey, Monika Johnson-Hostler*
District 3: Roxie Cash
District 4: Heather Elliott, Keith Sutton*
District 5: Jim Martin*
District 6: Christine Kushner*
District 7: Zora S. Felton*
District 8: Gary Lewis, Lindsay Mahaffey, Gil Pagan
District 9: Bill Fletcher*, Michael Tanbusch
Most of the current members have filed to run again, save Susan Evans and Kevin Hill. Evans is challenging Tamara Barringer for her NC General Assembly senate seat.
An example of the chaos caused by shifting back to the 2011 maps is evident in current District 1 and 2 races. Under the new maps, Sheila Ellis would have been going up against Monika Johnson-Hostler. Ellis now is running in District 1. The situation is confusing, at best.
Johnson-Hostler’s personal financial dealings and ” five-figure credit card debt” were highlighted in the 2013 race. This website took notice when Johnson-Hostler was cited defending Common Core in 2014.
The two candidates now challenging Johnson-Hostler in District 2 are both Republicans. Peter Hochstaetter was originally running in District 7 alongside Gary Lewis, who had now been pushed into District 8.
An article in the News and Observer stated that, “Hochstaetter, 35, is a corporate trainer who says he’s “a proponent of neighborhood schools and restoring power and decision-making authority to parents and local families.” This is backed up by Hochstaetter’s LinkedIn profile.
Hochstaetter doesn’t appear to have a campaign website, but he does have a rather inactive Facebook page. Sources tell me Hochstaetter’s children possibly attend a private school.
The other contender is Mark Ivey, who does have a campaign website. The site is rather inactive but does have a bio page. Ivey also has a Facebook presence, which is much more active and shows a concentration on Vocational and Career and Technical Education (CTE).
Districts 1, 2 and 8 have a chance to make a slight difference if they oust the incumbents. Given that 7 of the 9 current members are running it is unlikely any real changes can be made to the way the Wake board operates.
Citizens unsure of who is running in their school board districts should use the North Carolina State Board of Elections ‘voter look up‘ tool. Once they have looked up their voter record, they can click on the ‘sample ballot’ to view their options.