Republican candidates sweep nearly half of NC school board races 

Kids holding signs against Critical Race Theory stand on stage near Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., on April 22, 2022. (Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald via AP, file)

RALEIGH — Republican candidates swept nearly half of all district school board races in the Nov. 8 election. 

A total of 83 out of the state’s 115 school districts had seats up for election. Per data compiled by EducationNC, there were 290 total seats up for grabs.  

The data shows 47 of the 83 districts had enough seats on the ballot to shift the current makeup of those boards and 41 of the 83 were partisan races. That translates to 137 partisan seats of which Republicans won 103 or 75%. Democrats won 34 or 25%. 

A closer look at those board races it appears Republicans swept all seats in 21 of those 41 partisan races while Democrats only swept three. 

Only 10 school boards had partisan races in 2013, according to EducationNC. 

Districts in which Republicans swept the races include Alleghany, Beaufort, Brunswick, Caldwell, Carteret, Cleveland, Craven, Elkin City Schools, Jones, Lee, Lincoln, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Rockingham, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, and Transylvania. 

The four Democrat board sweeps included Anson, Vance, and Washington. 

One winner of note in Beaufort County was never able to actually campaign, according to a report by the Island Packet. Victor Ney, an active duty Marine, won the seat for District 5 after being backed by the group Moms for Liberty. A second candidate backed by the group, Elizabeth Hey in District 10, also won. 

The top three vote-getters winning spots in the Alamance-Burlington district are also all Republicans; Dan Ingle, Charles Parker and Chuck Marsh.  

The result was the same in Johnston County despite the races being non-partisan. Terry Tippett, Kevin Donovan, and Michelle Antoine, all Republicans, were the three candidates receiving the most votes. 

Republicans almost swept the Union County races, electing four Republicans and one Democrat. 

In New Hanover County, eight candidates were on the ballot for four seats and Republicans won all four. The election of Pat Bradford, incumbent Republican Pete Wildeboer, Josie Barnhart, and Melissa Mason flips the board 5 to 2 Republican majority. Two other incumbents were ousted; Democrats Nelson Beaulieu and Judy Justice. 

Incumbents also went down in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the state’s second-largest district. Six of the nine seats were on the ballot for the non-partisan board race. Incumbents Rhonda Cheek (District 1), Carol Sawyer (District 4) and Sean Strain (District 6) were defeated. Cheek and Strain were the only Republicans on the board. Sawyer is a Democrat who was first elected in 2017. Of the incumbents up for reelection, only Vice-Chair Thelma Byers-Bailey (District 2) survived. 

In other races, Guilford County voters elected three Democrats and two Republicans to its board. 

In Winston-Salem/Forsyth, Democrats won five seats and Republicans four while in Yancey County it was an even one-to-one split.  

Both seats on the ballot in Stanly County went to Republican candidates who ran unopposed; incumbent Dustin Lisk who was seeking reelection for his District 1 seat and Robin Whittaker, who will take over Anthony Graves At-Large seat. 

Races for all nine spots in the state’s largest district of Wake County were non-partisan, however, two Republicans secured wins; Sheryl Caulfield for District 1 and Wing Ng for District 3.  Over two dozen candidates filed to for the Wake school board after five of the nine incumbent members said they weren’t running for reelection. 

Moore County’s Board of Education races are also non-partisan, but conservative-backed candidates prevailed. Current Chair Pam Thompson, who is registered as unaffiliated, was ousted by Shannon Davis for the District 3 seat. Paulina Bruno and Ken Benway were the top vote-getters out of the four candidates running for the two at-large seats.  

Five candidates ran for three of the seven seats on the Randolph County school board. The only incumbent running, Fred Burgess, won reelection by coming in third of the top three vote-getters. Shannon Craven Whitaker took in the most votes followed by Phillip Lanier. All three are registered Republicans. 

Angela Southerland and Catherine Blue, both registered Democrats along with Ruben Castellon, a registered Republican, were elected to the Hoke County School Board which was also a non-partisan race. Only one incumbent was in the running, Democrat Della Maynor who came in 6th out of the field of ten. 

The results in all races will not be certified as official until after the N.C. State Board of Elections finished its canvas on Nov. 18. 

This article was updated with a correction related to Brunswick County. Those races were won by Republican candidates. Original reporting stated that  Democrats swept that district.
About A.P. Dillon 797 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_