The big local news

Two years ago, behind big Republican money and a coordinate effort, the Republicans swept 4 Democratic school board seats giving them a 5-4 school board majority to basically wreak havoc for the past couple years.  Last night, only one Republican was up, the Chair of the Board, and honestly, just about the worst public servant I’ve ever seen– Ron Margiotta.   Thank God, he was narrowly defeated 52-48.  Democrats easily held 3 of the other 4 seats.  As for the 4th, it’s a run-off as the Democrat needed 50%+1 and ended up with 49.7.  Ouch!  The fact that the Tea Party lunatic Heather Losurdo (if you doubt, just click that link) managed to capture even 40% disturbs me, but it is a fairly Republican district.

The good news for the run-off is that to know Losurdo is to not like her.  Turns out PPP just polled this district:

Last week PPP conducted a survey in Wake County School Board District 3 that found incumbent Kevin Hill leading challenger Heather Losurdo 45-34, a margin almost equivalent to Hill’s margin of victory tonight. The survey also asked who respondents would vote for if the race ended up in a runoff between Hill and Losurdo- in that instance Hill led by a 16 point margin at 52-36.

Hill would expand on his victory margin from tonight because the supporters of Jennifer Mansfield and Eric Squires, who combined for a little over 10% of the vote, say they would vote for Hill over Losurdo by a 44-37 margin in a head to head.  The Mansfield/Squires voters have an incredibly dim view of Losurdo- just 23% see her positively to 63% with a negative opinion.

The campaign has taken a serious toll on Losurdo’s image. Just 36% of voters in the district have a favorable view of her, with 43% seeing her negatively. Hill, on the other hand, is quite popular with 48% of voters approving of him to only 30% who disapprove.

One of my friends earlier tonight referred to this as “ground zero” for the run-off.  I’m going to be really curious to see just how intense and expensive matters get in a county school board election.  Truth is, though, there’s an awful lot at stake here.  Sure hope PPP’s polling holds up.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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