Local Politics

Former school board candidate wants runoff canceled

Posted October 21, 2009 2:14 p.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2009 3:00 p.m. EDT

— Cathy Truitt, who on Monday dropped out of the District 2 race for the Wake County Board of Education, asked local elections officials Wednesday to halt a planned runoff election.

Truitt finished second to John Tedesco in the Oct. 6 election, in which Tedesco garnered just under 50 percent of the vote and Truitt getting about 24 percent.

She immediately requested a runoff election, saying she offered an alternative to the neighborhood schools philosophy espoused by Tedesco and three other candidates who won their races: Chris Malone in District 1, Deborah Prickett in District 7 and Debra Goldman in District 9.

At a Monday news conference, Truitt said she didn't think she could win a runoff, so she conceded the race to Tedesco.

Wake County Board of Elections director Cherie Poucher said the runoff would go on as scheduled because ballots had been printed and absentee and early voting had started. The runoff would cost more than $30,000, she said.

Truitt sent a letter to the elections board Wednesday in an effort to rescind her call for a runoff.

Poucher said the board would meet Friday to seek guidance from state elections officials on whether the runoff could be canceled. State law doesn't cover instances where a candidate tries to withdraw a request for a runoff election, she said.

If the runoff proceeds as scheduled and Truitt were to win, the seat would remain vacant, and the school board would appoint someone to fill it.

Tedesco, Malone, Prickett and Goldman were endorsed by community groups like WakeCARES and the Wake Schools Community Alliance because they said they were willing to change the district's student assignment policies away from one that promotes socioeconomic diversity to favor neighborhood schools.

Together with school board member Ron Margiotta, the four new board members will give the neighborhood schools position a majority position on the nine-member board.