With all five precincts reporting Tuesday night in the District 2 race on the Muscogee County School Board, the three-way race is headed toward a July 24 runoff because nobody received a majority of the vote.
In early voting, Edmondson had 55 percent of the vote, with 535, followed by McCraine with 231 and Steed with 198.
District 2 representative John Thomas, an IRS agent, is in his first term and didn’t seek re-election but is supporting McCraine.
In phone interviews Tuesday night with the candidates, Edmondson told the Ledger-Enquirer the results show voters favor his qualifications.
“I think they probably like that I’ve been a teacher and have a lot of experience,” he said. “I’ve been in the classroom and helped develop curriculum. I’m focused on career and technical education being improved for the county.”
The key to winning the runoff, Edmondson said, will be to “get the message out to people who might be questioning me and might not have all the information.”
Steed said he was “a little surprised” to not win the election outright, “but it will be good to be in the runoff.”
Asked why he didn’t finish first this time after missing the runoff during his debut campaign four years ago, Steed said, “I don’t know. Our reaction was great in the public. We had everything in place. Our support was good. We just have to go back and see where we fell back and regroup.”
The $165,000 contract Steed’s Kar-Tunes business has to service the heating, ventilation and air conditioning on MCSD buses was questioned as a conflict of interest. Steed, however, has noted his service on several school district advisory or oversight committees, including for alternative education and the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. He also regularly attends board meetings to keep updated on the issues.
“I’ve shown my desire and effort to work tirelessly for the school district,” he said. “My head is in the right place, my mind is in the right place, and I have the knowledge to help move the district forward.”
McCraine said failing to reach the runoff was “kind of what I expected being my first time out. Nobody knew who I was. The teachers at the schools where my children attend and the people I help there know me, but the community didn’t know me.”
Still, she said, “I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to run.”
In fact, she is encouraged enough to consider running again.
“If things don’t get better,” she said, “then I’ll have to look at in four years. A change needs to happen.”
Asked to specify that change, McCraine said, “There’s such dissension on the board. People aren’t concerned so much about what’s going on in the schools.”
McCraine said she probably will talk with Edmondson and Steed before deciding whether and whom she will support in the runoff.
“They both gave the superintendent an A (in the Ledger-Enquirer’s report card), so I would have a hard time voting for either one,” said McCraine, who gave superintendent David Lewis a C.