Close wins in school board races allow for two new members

Angie Mayes • Aug 2, 2018 at 11:25 PM

The Wilson County Board of Education featured close races and two new Wilson County school board members voted into office Thursday in the Wilson County General Election.

In the Lebanon Special School District, Steve Jones ran unopposed for an at-large seat on the board.

In the Wilson County school board races, four spots were on the ballot, and all were contested.

In a close race in Wilson County Zone 7, Chad Karl narrowly defeated James “Rusty” Keith. Karl had 1,600 votes, while Keith had 1,597 and incumbent Gwynne Queener had 1,140.

Karl said, the race was “very close. Like anything you do local, you have no idea. We felt we were a little behind in early voting, and we started looking at polling numbers. We knew it would be close, and as we heard stuff roll in, we knew it would be close, one way or another.”

Karl, who lost to Larry Inman by 24 votes in 2016, said, “I know what it’s like to sit on the other side of the campaign and say, ‘what if.’ I was on the campaign trail with Rusty. He is a great guy. In fact, we were talking today about how we still have to represent the [person who lost.] He and I have a good relationship. “

The Wilson County Election Commission still has to count provisional ballots and certify the election next week, and that will ultimately determine the winner of the election.

“With three votes difference and the provisional ballots still to be counted, I don’t feel like it’s completely done,” Karl said. “It’s not a huge margin and could go either way.”

Still, he said the two would continue to talk about the issues.
“Whatever happens, we said we’d talk,” he said. “When you’ve knocked on that many doors, you have a good knowledge of what you’ve heard.”

In Zone 6, a close race featured newcomer Kimberly McGee defeat incumbent Johnnie Payton, 2,023 to 1,988.

McGee said she was “shocked that she won.”

“It was very close, and I’m excited to represent my constituents in Zone 6. I am honored to represent the people in Zone 6,” she said. “I want to learn as much as I can, listen to the community and represent their needs and wants to the best of my ability. I ran saying I wanted I wanted to give a voice back to the people. That’s what I plan to do.”

In Zone 2, incumbent Bill Robinson took the seat with 2,039 votes, and defeated both David Burks, who had 673 votes, and Matthew Mock, who finished with 566 votes.

Incumbent Linda Armistead soundly won her race in Zone 4 with 2,782, votes. She defeated Maurisa Pasick, who garnered 874 votes.

Armistead said she is “thankful for the support. I want to continue to support the teachers and students and continue with our plans in building and renovating schools. I also want to continue keeping our high standards we have in the school system.”

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