Kauffman Sweeps Board of Education At-Large Primary
In the Montgomery County Board of Education primary, Morris Panner took the No. 2 spot for the At-Large ballot; Fred Evans and Rebecca Smondrowski took the top spots for District 2.
Although the Republican presidential primary bolstered Maryland into national headlines Tuesday, locally Montgomery County voters also narrowed the field for the Board of Education’s general election in November.
The unofficial results show that Phil Kauffman and Morris Panner beat out the two other candidates on the ballot to advance to the general election for the at-large seat. Kauffman received 60.3 percent of the vote, and Panner received 17 percent of the vote. The next runner-up, Lou August, received 11.9 percent of the vote.
"I am really honored to have received the support I did," Panner, a resident of the Town of Somerset in Chevy Chase, told Chevy Chase Patch.
"It is such an important time in our [c]ounty's history and a critical time to make sure we secure the long-term strength of our great schools," Panner added.
In District 2, voters selected Fred Evans and Rebecca Smondrowski to advance to the general election, out of a field of five candidates. Evans received 24.7 percent of the vote, and Smondrowski received 22.4 percent of the vote. The next runner-up, Jeanne Ellinport, received 21.7 percent of the vote.
"I'm very proud. It feels good," Evans said. "I got a lot of help from a lot of people, and I guess the presentations and forums I did rang with a lot of folks -- and I just feel really good."
The Board of Elections must still count absentee and provisional ballots before releasing an official number.
With a population of over 207,000, District 2 serves the Winston Churchill and Richard Montgomery clusters, along with parts of Northwest, Quince Orchard, Thomas S. Wootton and Rockville clusters.
Because the District 4 race only had two candidates, Christopher Barclay and Annita Seckinger will both automatically advance to the November general election.
Seven residents serve on the Board of Education at all times—two at-large members and five members representing geographical districts. Members are elected to four-year terms.
In a primary characterized by what many called unusually low turnout, candidates said they encountered voters at the polls who knew hardly anything about the Board of Education race and who directed their attention instead to the congressional or presidential primary races.
Rebecca Smondrowski told Bethesda Patch that she hoped to drive home the importance of the Board of Education race even for Montgomery County residents without children in the school system. “If you own a home here, if you work here, if you own a business here, having successful students affects all of us,” she said.