Newcomer wins post in Lexington-Richland 5

tflach@thestate.comNovember 7, 2012 

Jondy Loveless, Candidate for LR district 5

  • Lexington County School Districts At a glance Unofficial results, with all contests nonpartisan. Lexington 1 44 of 45 precincts (Top four elected) Cindy Smith (i), 15,246; Brent Powers, 13,323; Ed Harmon (i), 13,149; Jean Haggard, 12,489; Janet Frazier, 10,659; Rhonda Gunter, 7,582; Hazel Duell, 6,370; Deb Kelderman, 6,073; Ted Zee, 5,283; Rutu Bhonsle, 4,683; Anthony Feraci, 3,371; Toyeka Campbell, 2,602 Lexington 2 incomplete (Top four elected) Cindy Kessler (i), 7,938; Beth Branham (i) 6,956; Bill Bingham (i), 6,737; Glen Conwell (i), 4,815; Amy Ditolla, 4,217; Jimmy Brooks, 3,658 Lexington 3 incomplete (Top four elected) Stacey Derrick, 1,904; Craig Caughman (i), 1,742; Benjie Rikard, 1,536; Leon Drafts (i), 1,308; Craig Shealy, 1,276; Steve Adams Jr., 1,178; Olin Gambrell, 1,065; Amanda Tarbell, 618 Lexington 4 9 of 9 precincts (Top 4 elected) Chris Pound (i),2,305; Kathy Mixson, 2,125; Gregg Riley, 2,211; Daniel Martin (i), 2,038; Jeff Hart (i), 1,772 Lexington-Richland 5 (Lexington portion – top two elected) 18 of 18 Beth Burn Watson (i), 10,695; Jondy Loveless, 9,209; Jan Hammond (i), 7,531; Ed Yates, 4,025 (Richland portion – one elected) 5 of 13 precincts Robert Gantt (i), 4,187; Melissa Cole, 2,279 *incumbent

Voters in Lexington-Richland 5 opted for a three-member team that plans to end friction over finances and school improvements.

Newcomer Jondy Loveless was the choice to join incumbents Robert Gantt and Beth Burn Watson in trying to quell division.

“It’s a message that people are tired of being bullied by a negative group,” Watson said. “It’s a message they want us to do positive things.”

Loveless promised to “continue the positive momentum. I will work with everyone in a positive way.”

The chief issue was friction among board members that has divided oversight of classrooms with 16,400 students who attend schools that consistently rank among the state’s best.

Meanwhile, voters in Lexington 1 appeared to have expressed satisfaction as they kept two incumbents and picked two newcomers backed by retiring board members.

“I take it as a sign people want to keep the good things going,” said board chairwoman Cindy Smith, who was re-elected.

“It validates what we’ve done,” said Ed Harmon, the other incumbent re-elected.

A dozen candidates were on the ballot in Lexington 1, the largest district in enrollment with about 23,000 students in top-ranked schools located in the central part of the county.

Voters also chose members on boards overseeing classrooms in Lexington 2, 3 and 4.

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