It was too close to call the victors late Tuesday in Central Valley School Board’s contentious and expensive races this year between conservative challengers and long-time incumbents.
In early results based on ballots counted Tuesday, incumbent of 32 years Cindy McMullen led with 52.4% of the vote over challenger Jeff Brooks in District 1. Brooks does not support property tax collections in the form of levies and bonds.
“There has to be two sides of the story, that’s really what I was hoping to do. To at least show the school district and the larger picture of the county that there are other perspectives,” Brooks said.
In District 3, incumbent of 20 years Debra Long narrowly led challenger Stephanie Jerdon. Long received 50.6% compared to Jerdon’s 49.1% of counted ballots.
The three incumbents gathered for a watch party at Halletts Market & Cafe in Spokane Valley, where Long shed a few tears after seeing the inconclusive results. In this election, she said the students were the stakes.
“We need to provide them with all opportunities,” she said. “They deserve a quality education that makes them successful in life.”
Conservative challenger Anniece Barker was leading incumbent of 16 years Keith Clark in District 4 with 50.5% of the vote. Barker spearheaded a 2020 campaign to add a referendum to Washington ballots, inviting voters to weigh in on legislation requiring comprehensive sex education curriculum.
“Stability versus turmoil,” Clark said were at stake in this election.
Paige Van Buren contributed to this report.