Three school board seats to be decided in runoff election


For the second time in two years, Marshall Orson has defeated Don McChesney for the DeKalb County School Board District 2 seat.

Orson, the incumbent for District 2, received 60.95 percent of votes to McChesney’s 30.95 percent from 25 precincts. In 2012, Orson unseated McChesney with 61.65 percent of the votes to McChesney’s 38.19 percent.

Orson, cofounder and partner in the consulting firm Melbourne Partners, said he looks forward to serving the residents of District 2 and all of DeKalb for the next four years.

“I think we’ve begun the process of reforming the school system and these are great opportunities to do wonderful things for our children,” Orson said.

In 2013, Gov. Nathan Deal suspended six school board members and appointed new members after the district was placed on accreditation probation. Orson said the school board has made significant strides in improving the district.

“We also know that there is a lot more to do,” Orson said. “So what we need is to be in partnership with the rest of the community to ensure that we have a clear vision.”

In another high‒profile race, District 5 incumbent Thad Mayfield will face former school board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham in a runoff July 22. Mayfield received 34.64 percent of votes while Cunningham received 28.41 percent.

Mayfield was the school board member for District 9, but his seat was one of two eliminated by the state General Assembly. David Campbell, who was the District 5 representative, chose not to run. Mayfield was one of six school board members appointed in 2013 by Deal. Cunningham was also among the board members who were suspended.

The District 4 seat also will be decided in a runoff, as incumbent Jim McMahan will face incumbent, Karen Carter. Carter led McMahan 35.98 percent to 27.29 percent at press time. Carter was appointed to Super District 8 by the governor, but the seat was one of two eliminated by the state General Assembly.

McMahan said District 4 will be well represented, no matter who wins in the runoff election.

“We have wonderful leadership in our district, a very involved and informed community and I look forward to debating my challenger for the runoff in July,” McMahan said.

District 3 also will be decided on July 22. Incumbent Michael Erwin, appointed by Deal, received 38.14 percent of votes. Challenger Atticus LeBlanc received 19.93 percent of votes.

Incumbent Melvin Johnson, the school board’s chairman, was re-elected for his District 6 seat, defeating challenger Bridgeman Bolger 77.33 [ercent to 22.67 percent of votes.

In District 7, incumbent Joyce Morley–another Deal appointee–was chosen by voters to remain on the school board with 60.44 percent of votes. Morley defeated challengers Kim Ault (21.79 percent) and Lee V. Dukes (17.77 percent).

Stan Jester won the District 1 seat uncontested. The seat was formerly held by his wife, Nancy Jester, who ran for state school superintendent.


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