Voters pick next DeKalb school board, and winnow the field in Cobb

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Voters pick next DeKalb school board, and winnow the field in Cobb

A fraction of DeKalb County voters turned out to reduce the influence of Gov. Nathan Deal on the local school board, with unofficial election results Tuesday showing a couple of his appointees trailing in the polls.

Deal appointee Michael A. Erwin, 44, had a wide margin on challenger Atticus LeBlanc, 34, in District 3, which runs southwest from Avondale Estates.

But two other Deal appointees were far behind their opponents. In District 4, in and around Tucker and the Northlake Mall, Karen Carter, 51, had fewer votes than elected incumbent Jim McMahan, 48. In District 5 in the southeast corner of the county, Deal appointee Thad Mayfield, 58, was trailing private school headmaster Vickie B. Turner, 59.

Carter and Mayfield were appointed at-large but were shifted into separate districts when the Georgia General Assembly reduced the school board by two seats to seven effective January.

Two other Deal appointees had already chosen not to stand for election: in January, appointee John Coleman will give up his District 1 seat in Dunwoody to Stan Jester, who ran unopposed; and David Campbell will turn over his District 5 seat to the winner of the Mayfield-Turner contest.

Only one of Deal’s picks, Joyce Morley in District 7, which runs south from Clarkston, won outright in the May 20 primary.

If the early results stand, just two of the board members appointed by Deal will be sworn in for another term in January.

The governor removed six school board members after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, complaining of poor governance, placed the DeKalb County School District on probation in December 2012.

The unofficial results had fewer than one in 10 voters casting a ballot in each of Tuesday’s DeKalb school board races. The DeKalb election is nonpartisan, and the primary serves as the general election. So the outcome will be final. Not so in Cobb County, where Republican Susan Thayer, a career educator, pulled well ahead of incumbent Tim Stultz for school board Post 2. The winner will face Democrat Kenya Pierce in November.

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