Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Halsell faces runoff; Heil retains seat on school board

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Voters Return Incumbent To Board Seat

By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE -- Voters returned one incumbent to her seat on the Fayetteville School Board and sent two other Fayetteville candidates to a runoff in a light turnout in the annual school elections Tuesday.

Incumbent Susan Heil defeated challenger James McGinty, 1,406-1,066, for the at large Position 2 seat on the Fayetteville School Board. Heil, 46, has served on the board seven years.

Conrad Odom, 42, and Jim Halsell, 59, emerged as the top vote-getters in a six-way race for the at large Position 1 seat on the Fayetteville board. The winner of the three-year unexpired term will be determined in an Oct. 7 runoff.

Odom polled 687 votes to Halsell's 930.

They won over competitors Dr. Stacy Furlow, Mike Malony, Joe Lee and Jeanie Hill. Odom was the incumbent after having been appointed to the seat in June when John Delap resigned to return to teaching.

Heil thanked her supporters and McGinty for a hard-fought race.

"I look forward to continue my work on the board," she said.

Odom thanked his supporters as well as the other candidates in his race. He has no immediate strategy for the runoff, he said.

John Logan Burrow, chairman of the Washington County Election Commission, said the results are unofficial until they are certified on Sept. 26. He predicted vote totals could change because of the number of overseas absentee ballots still out.

Elsewhere in Washington County, Jeff Williams is the newest member of the Springdale School Board, elected to a five-year term.

Williams trumped challenger James McGinnis, 481-127, for the at large Position 2 seat on the board.

It was the first contested race for a seat on the Springdale board in several years, according to observers. No major issues surfaced in what was a quiet campaign for the seat formerly held by David Van Bebber.

Van Bebber was elected to a five-year term in the Zone 2 seat, formerly held by Robert Farrell, who opted not to seek re-election after serving 15 years on the board.

Williams, 45, is the chief financial officer for America's Car-Mart. He is a graduate of Springdale High School and the University of Arkansas. He has five children in Springdale schools.

In West Fork School Board race, Mark Findahl topped Susan Neyman, 198-68, in a race to replace longtime board member Tim Helder. Helder, the Washington County sheriff, couldn't seek re-election to the school board because he is a candidate for sheriff in the November election.

Dax Moreton defeated Curtis Spatz, 182-173, for a five-year term on the Lincoln School Board.

In Prairie Grove, Lanny Rice outpolled competitor Jerry Coyle, 429-384.

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