Columbus attorney Frank Myers soundly defeated incumbent Beth Harris for her District 8 seat on the Muscogee County School Board.
After early votes were counted, Myers had 1,507 votes to Harris' 830 votes, or 64.13 percent to 35.32 percent.
The contest was part of a long-running dispute over how the school board operates, particularly how it spends its money.
Myers frequently and vociferously has criticized the board’s no-bid contract for legal services with local law firm Hatcher, Stubbs, Land, Hollis and Rothschild, the only firm the school district has ever used.
Myers called his triumph over a school board incumbent a resounding defeat of the "status quo," and said his campaign wasn't focused solely on the legal contract.
"The only time the lawyers got discussed during this campaign was when I was asked about them," he said tonight. "We ran on a platform of ending all no-bid contracts.... We need competitive bidding. It doesn't mean necessarily take the lowest bidder, but if you have competitive bidding, what it means is you're going to save a lot of money that could be put into the classroom."
That is the overall aim, he said: "Under my plan we will save enough money so the teachers won't suffer. We've got to figure out a way, and I think I've presented a plan to get more money back in the classroom, and that's what everybody's goal is."
Myers’ lobbying with Georgia state Sen. Josh McKoon to persuade board members to open the district's legal contract to bids led to three board members’ filing ethics complaints against McKoon, but those complaints were dismissed by the Senate Ethics Committee. The board in private session called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to probe Myers’ and McKoon’s actions, and the GBI also found no evidence of wrongdoing.