Kuckel, Armstrong advance in District 6 school board race
While four candidates started out the primary election vying for the new Lee County School Board District 6 seat, only two are proceeding to the November election.
Jane Kuckel earned the majority of the ballots cast with 41,486 votes or 42.83 percent, followed by Don Armstrong with 25,619 votes or 26.45 percent, according to figures from the Lee County Elections Office website. The two candidates will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
Third place went to Charles Dailey, who garnered 17,089 votes or 17.64 percent. Richard Dunmire came in in fourth place, taking home 12,667 votes or 13.08 percent, according to the website.
Kuckel thanked her supporters on Tuesday and was pleased to be moving on.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I really look forward to being back on the board and bringing the board back to where we were a few years ago.”
Kuckel noted that her team has a solid strategy for her campaign in the coming months.
“That’s working around everything that’s best for the students,” she said.
That’s really what it’s all about,” Kuckel added.
Kuckel promised to elevate the district back to what it once was if elected.
“I will just work very hard to make them proud and to have a district that everybody can be proud of,” she said.
Armstrong attributed his success to having a lot of support from the community.
“I’m very excited. I’m very thrilled,” he said. “I want to thank everybody for all the help they’ve given me and the support.”
Armstrong noted that he is “not out of the woods yet.”
“We still have three more months of campaigning and three more months to prove to the residents of Lee County that I’m the candidate who deserves to sit on the school board,” he said.
In the coming months, Armstrong plans to spend more time with the public.
“Talk to more people and listen to what they want,” he said. “This is a job interview, this isn’t an election. The public – they are the boss, they are the employer.”
Armstrong thanked the other candidates for a clean race.
“Richard Dunmire was a true gentleman and so was Charles Dailey,” he said. “There was no mudslinging. We just talked about the topics, the different ideas.”
Dailey also offered thanks to his supporters.
“I’m very much appreciative,” he said. “Sometimes the best qualified candidate does not always win.”
Dailey pointed out that the district maintains a half-billion dollar debt and the current school board members continue to make reactionary, instead of proactive, decisions.
“We will continue to fight for the rights of all students,” he said.
Dailey plans to support Kuckel in the general election.
“We need someone who has the educational background and knowledge base,” he said. “I’m very confident that things will be moving on.”
Dunmire did not return messages seeking comment on Tuesday.
According to the website, there are 408,457 registered voters in Lee County. A total of 117,687 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s primary election, meaning a total of 28.81 percent of the voters turned out.
In 2014, Lee County voters approved expanding the school board from five to seven members. As of November, the five original seats will be elected from their district, while the two new seats – District 6 and District 7 – will be elected countywide. The five original seats had been voted on countywide.
School board races are non-partisan.
Election results are unofficial until certified.