Across metro Atlanta, incumbents dominate school board races

Gwinnett County voters cast ballots in the school board's first nonpartisan elections on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

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Gwinnett County voters cast ballots in the school board's first nonpartisan elections on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Incumbent school board members across metro Atlanta made a strong showing in Tuesday’s elections.

Board of education members in Clayton, Cherokee, Gwinnett, Fayette and Henry prevailed in their races, though others face future challenges.

In the closely watched DeKalb County school board races, incumbent Allyson Gevertz, who criticized the board’s recent decision to fire its superintendent, sailed to victory. But incumbent Diijon DaCosta, who voted to oust the superintendent, appears headed to a runoff against challenger Janet Hughes, who had the second-highest votes in that race.

The results of elections are considered unofficial until certified.

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Voters in Cobb County’s school board District 2 chose Republican Stephen M. George Jr. and Democrat Becky Sayler. The two will face off in November. Voters in districts 4 and 6, which had uncontested primaries, will also elect representatives.

Despite support from a political action committee that opposes the teaching of critical race theory, two Cherokee County school board challengers failed to unseat incumbents.

In the District 3 Republican primary, incumbent John Harmon easily defeated Cam Waters, endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC. Harmon will face Democrat Katie McRee in November.

District 4 incumbent Rick Steiner beat Chris Gregory, a challenger supported by the same PAC. Steiner faces no Democratic opposition.

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In an open race for District 5, Erin Ragsdale garnered the most votes but will face Sean Kaufman, also supported by the PAC, in a Republican runoff. That winner faces Democrat Sean Jackson in November.

With no incumbent running in District 6, educator Susan Padgett Harrison led a three-person field. She’ll face Ray Lynch, backed by the 1776 group, in a runoff. There is no Democratic opposition.

In Clayton County’s District 1 school board race, incumbent Jasmine Bowles defeated Monica Hooker. Both are Democrats. There are no Republican challengers in November.

A runoff is needed to decide the DeKalb school board District 2 race. Candice D. McKinley had the most votes, followed closely by Whitney McGinniss.

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Fayette County Board of Education District 2 incumbent Roy Rabold appeared to beat out two challengers and avoid a runoff. There is no Democrat running, which means Rabold, a Republican, will hold onto his seat.

In a three-way primary race for the Fayette school board District 4 seat, Democrat Regina Daigre appeared to fall just shy of the majority necessary to win. She will face fellow Democrat Patty Mosley in a runoff. That winner will face Republican William Leon Yarde, who did not have a challenger.

Fulton County votes were still being tallied Wednesday morning, leaving uncertain several races.

Of the four races, only one featured an incumbent. Board Vice-President Kimberly Dove was leading challenger LaTonya Martin Rogers with over 60% of precincts reporting.

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In the Fulton school board District 2 race, Lillie Pozatek had an edge over Brittany Griffin. In District 5, Kristin McCabe was outpacing Kimberly Ware. In District 7, Michelle Morancie held a narrow lead over Phil Chen.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia’s largest district, school board elections were nonpartisan for the first time. Board Vice Chair Steve Knudsen held onto his District 2 seat, with close to two-thirds of the votes in a race against Michael Rudnick.

In a crowded District 4 race, Adrienne Simmons, a Georgia Department of Education assessment specialist, and Alexis Williams, an attorney, received the most votes. That sets up a June runoff. Kelly Kautz, a former mayor of Snellville, trailed just behind.

In the nonpartisan race for District 4 for the Henry County school board, incumbent Sophe Cook Pope appeared to garner enough votes to avoid a runoff.

Reporter Leon Stafford contributed to this article.