Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Everyone positive as races head to runoffs

No clear favorites emerged from three tight School Board races Tuesday in Pinellas, setting up a trio of runoff elections in November.

Incumbent Janet Clark led the field in the District 1 at-large race, but Jennifer Crockett, making her second bid for a School Board seat, trailed closely.

Newcomer Nina Hayden, a public defender, was the lead vote getter in the District 2 at-large race. But with less than 30 percent of the vote, she faced a runoff election against high school teacher Sean O'Flannery or retired businessman Ron Walker, who were in a tight race for second place. O'Flannery was slightly ahead late Tuesday, but the difference between the two candidates stood at less than 1 percent of the vote with provisional votes and some absentee ballots yet to be counted.

In the North County District 4 race, Realtor Robin Wikle finished just ahead of Palm Harbor chiropractor Ken Peluso, setting up a runoff among two well-financed candidates. Each raised more than $35,000 — far more than any candidate in the two countywide races.

A runoff occurs among the top two finishers in a race when no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote.

In a field with 13 candidates in three races, the runoffs were to be expected, said Beth Rawlins, a political consultant familiar with School Board issues. "It's very difficult to get 50 (percent) plus one with four candidates in a race, even with an incumbent in the race," she said.

Clark said she was pleased with the results, but was prepared if the election didn't go her way. "It is what it is," she said. "If I didn't get in the top two, I'd go back to teaching. I'll be in education either way. I don't think any of the other candidates can say that."

Crockett said her message to voters in the general election campaign would focus on leadership, cooperation among board members and getting someone with different experience on the board.

"Now I can focus on what I need to do," she said. "My calendar's already filling up."

Hayden said she thought voters liked that she works daily with juveniles and would use that experience on the board.

"This was my first time running for a political office," she said. "I'm definitely ready for the second half. … I'll be getting out there and talking to more people."

Like Crockett, O'Flannery is making his second bid for a School Board seat after losing in a runoff in 2006.

"I think I worked harder than the last time," he said. "I campaigned smarter. I researched the job more."

Walker could not be reached for comment.

Wikle said Tuesday night she was ecstatic about the results. "I'm looking forward to the general election with excitement and a renewed sense of energy," she said.

She said her message to voters would continue to focus on increasing parental involvement in schools, raising achievement, supporting career education and wanting to be a dependable board member.

Peluso said he, too, would stick to his primary election theme.

"It just comes down to who has the most experience on the issues and who has more experience in general," he said. "I feel my experience makes me the most qualified."

Everyone positive as races head to runoffs 08/27/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 3:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]