Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

KANAWHA SCHOOL BOARD ; Cavender and Crawford Win

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

KANAWHA SCHOOL BOARD ; Cavender and Crawford Win

Article excerpt

With about 20,900 votes in Tuesday's primary election, newcomer Ric Cavender won a seat on the Kanawha County school board, while incumbent board member Jim Crawford won re-election with the second- highest vote total, at 15,300. Four men ran for the two board seats up for grabs in this election. The two losing candidates were retired longtime construction manager Bill Carpenter - who self- funded his campaign and, as of his most recent campaign finance filing, had spent only $45 - and former Charleston city councilman Adam Knauff.

Carpenter still managed to get more votes than Knauff, at 10,800 to Knauff's 10,400. During the campaign, Knauff denounced the current school board's record while his three competitors had little to no criticism.

Knauff also criticized Cavender on issues like Cavender's support for hiring a school system spokesperson if the county's budget situation improves.

"It's evident that the public at large does not respond to negative campaigning, Cavender, executive director of the Charleston Main Streets economic and community development organization, said Tuesday night. He attributed his success to a positive campaign and voters who wanted someone on the board who has direct, daily experience working with business owners.

Cavender, 33, said the school board seems to have operated professionally over the past several years.

"The last thing we want to see is a change in perception - that the school board is a war room, he said.

Candidates in the nonpartisan school board race have no general election. Cavender and Crawford will take office July 1, the start of Kanawha County's next fiscal year.

Board President Robin Rector decided not to run for re-election, meaning at least one newcomer was going to join the five-member board. The only other incumbent board member whose seat was up for grabs this election was Crawford, who was seeking another four-year term after serving 16 years on the board.

Crawford, 79, said he served 39 years as a Kanawha teacher, and when his new term is up he'll have served 20 years on the board. He didn't rule out seeking yet another term that would bring him close to a quarter century in the office. …

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