|Dr. Mary Cantrell|
BRADENTON – As expected, incumbent Manatee County District 5 School Board member Julie Aranibar and former Manatee Technical Institute Director, Dr. Mary Cantrell are headed to a runoff in the November 4 general election, after neither candidate received a majority of votes in the four-way, non-partisan race.
Aranibar got the most votes, nailing down 15,015 of 39,330 cast (38 percent). Cantrell followed closely behind with 14,269 votes. Perennial political candidate James Golden was able to gather a somewhat surprising 7,193 votes, while Carlton “Les” Nichols was unable to gather 1 percent of what was leftover.
By statute, school board races are non-partisan, with all candidates who qualify competing on the primary ballot. When no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote (as is usually the case when more than two candidates compete), the top two vote-getters participate in a run-off during the general election.
The Cantrell-Aranibar race has been cast as a referendum on the school district. Aranibar played a big role in helping to uncover the millions of dollars in financial malfeasance that led to former Superintendent Tim McGonegal's resignation and a top down replacement of almost the entire administration under new superintendent Rick Mills. Cantrell was one of the few remaining administrators left from the old days until she was non-renewed earlier this year, an event that she said was instrumental in her decision to run.
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