Morrisville gets new school board rep; Cary sticks with Fletcher

akenney@newsobserver.comOctober 11, 2013 

  • Results District 1

    Tom Benton→ 51.75%

    Don McIntyre→ 47.79%

    District 2

    Monika Johnson-Hostler→ 53.73%

    Matt Scruggs→ 45.86%

    District 7

    Zora Felton→ 57.61%

    Deborah Prickett→ 42.03%

    District 9

    Bill Fletcher→ 50.75%

    Nancy Caggia→ 48.74%

    (200 of 200 precincts reporting)

— Zora Felton says she didn’t know much about Morrisville before she decided to run for the school board seat that represents the town and northwest Raleigh.

Now she’s learning more about the diverse community that has only two elementary schools and no middle school or high school.

“It’s blooming everywhere,” she said of Morrisville’s growth, adding that “there’s a need for schools in the area.”

Felton, a Democrat, unseated incumbent Deborah Prickett in District 7 during Tuesday’s Wake County school board election. Prickett, elected in 2009, was the only member of that year’s new GOP majority to seek a second term.

Felton, who outpaced Prickett in fundraising two weeks ahead of the race, held a lead of about 16 percentage points by the end of the night.

Morrisville leaders have said they want to begin talks with the school board and county leaders about building more schools in Morrisville. Felton said she’s all for the idea.

“I will be happy to go to those meetings,” she said. “I will be happy to represent the school board.”

Morrisville “needs to be vocal” about its school needs, added Felton, a retired educator.

While Morrisville will have a new school board representative, Bill Fletcher will continue to represent Cary on the board.

Fletcher narrowly defeated challenger Nancy Caggia by 2 percentage points. Both are registered as Republicans, but each garnered cross-party support in the race to represent western Wake County.

The current Democratic majority gave Fletcher his seat in March, while Caggia won written support from Harold Weinbrecht, the Democratic mayor of Cary. She also had the endorsement of the Wake County Republican Party.

Fletcher’s victory was a final sting for some local Republicans: Even in a race between two Republicans, the GOP’s favored candidate lost.

The campaign, Fletcher said, had reinforced his belief that voters are tired of political fights on the board.

“The need to rebuild community around our schools is apparent,” Fletcher said. “Even folks I’ve talked to today at the polls … my take on what they shared with me is they don’t think they’re being listened to.”

Tuesday’s election results mean Democrats achieved a near-complete hold on the Wake County Board of Education.

With all precincts reporting unofficial results, Democrats won three races. Based on these counts, the officially nonpartisan nine-member board would include seven Democrats, an unaffiliated member who once was a Democrat, and Fletcher.

The results would end the tenure of the wave of Republicans who swept into office four years ago, bringing national attention to Wake County with attempts to end the county’s policy of student assignment based on diversity.

Monika Johnson-Hostler, a registered Democrat, led Republican Matt Scruggs by about 8 percentage points in District 2. The winner will replace John Tedesco, another Republican elected in 2009, to represent southeastern Wake County.

“I feel like the board is finally in a good rhythm,” Johnson-Hostler said.

The results also showed apparent voter approval for the school board’s recent appointees.

Board members in February chose Tom Benton, a Democrat, to replace former member Chris Malone, who was elected last year to the state House. The precinct reports gave Benton a lead of about 4 percentage points over Republican challenger Don McIntyre for the District 1 seat representing eastern Wake.

Benton, a retired Wake County educator and a Democrat, won some financial support from principals and administrators in Wake County. McIntyre garnered Republican support and criticized the current school board during his campaign.

Benton said that the election results would further calm partisan tensions.

“This is people talking about what’s best for our schools,” he said.

Staff writer Sarah Nagem contributed to this report.

Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC

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