Clarabut, Johnson, May, and Baker lead in Board of Education Races
As of Wednesday, Susan Clarabut, Louise Johnson, Timothy May, and Julie Baker were leading in their races for four seats on the Nevada County Board of Education.
On social media and in physical signage, the candidates had aligned themselves into two slates.
One slate was made up of Clarabut and Johnson running for the two available seats representing Area 1, May for Area 2, and Baker for Area 3. The other was made up of Peggy Delgado Fava for Area 1, Ashley Neumann for Area 2, and Grace Hudek for Area 3.
Clarabut, Johnson, and Neumann currently serve on the Board of Education; Clarabut and Johnson were appointed last year and this year, respectively, while Neumann — elected to the board in 2016 — would become its senior most member if reelected.
Susan Clarabut — as of Wednesday taking 12,034 votes, or 36.4%, of Area 1 votes — said forming a slate was not always their plan.
“We’re definitely a bipartisan slate,” said Clarabut, who at the time had received the most votes out of any Board of Education candidate. “When we were endorsed, it was because people felt as a group we would bring positivity and experience.”
On her outlook at that point, given her lead, she said she was feeling amazed and grateful for the number of people who had reached out and supported her campaign, but that “now we just wait for the (final) count to come in.”
Johnson, taking 11,144 votes, or 33.7%, of Area 1 votes so far, emphasized that the four leading candidates had begun their campaigns individually, and began working together after the four picked up the endorsement of the California Teachers Association.
On that endorsement, Johnson said, “I was touched by it.” She said she appreciated Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Gregory Diaz for facilitating the multiple options the county’s voters were given when it came to casting their ballots.
Fava, taking 9,858 votes, or 29.8%, of Area 1 ballots counted so far, couldn’t be reached for comment.
As of Wednesday, newcomer Timothy May led incumbent Ashley Neumann in the race for the Area 2 seat by 606 votes, the smallest vote gap of the Board of Education races. May had received 10,927 votes, or 51.4%, of counted Area 2 votes, and Neumann 10,321 votes, or 48.6%.
“During the course of the last several months, my appreciation for the Nevada County public school system has only been strengthened,” said May, adding that regardless of whether he wins this race, he will continue to seek out opportunities to get involved with local schools.
“What had the biggest impact (was) a positive message,” May said.
He said the slate “never got off message” when it came to promoting public schools and drawing attention to the help they will need as a result of the pandemic and related budget cuts.
Neumann couldn’t be reached for comment.
Julie Baker and Grace Hudek, both newcomers to the Board of Education, had received 11,788 to 9,567 votes, or 55.2% and 44.8%, of counted ballots so far, respectively.
“I’m feeling good, positive, and hopeful,” Baker said Wednesday, saying she was looking forward to the an official vote count, but felt the race was trending optimistically for her. “It’s very important we count all the votes,” she said.
Baker said that, while local school board races may traditionally garner lower levels of attention from voters than other contests, she feels she and her fellow slate members did a good job this year of raising community awareness of their campaigns.
“This only works if you get involved, and I was happy to see so many people involved,” she said.
Hudek couldn’t be reached for comment.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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