Anderson, Litton, and Russell Join Webb As Winners in World’s Tightest School Board Race

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 7, 2017

There may be a continuing desire by voters for political newcomers nationwide, but school board member Lawrence Webb may have the secret elixir that other incumbent officeholders want.

Mr. Webb won re-election to the board and also garnered the highest number of votes Tuesday; he was the only board member whose term was up who sought re-election. Joining him on the board are newcomers Greg Anderson, Shannon Litton, and Shawna Russell. Political outsider Alison Kutchma fell just short for the second election cycle in a row, and Richard Crespin finished sixth.

The most notable feature of the race was how tightly bunched the candidates were. Unlike in previous years, when one candidate was the clear favorite, this race came down to the final precinct to be counted. In the end, Mr. Webb led with 2,714 votes. He was followed closely by Mr. Anderson (2,674), Ms. Litton (2,629), and Ms. Russell (2,614), which means that the top four candidates were all within 100 votes of each other.

Ms. Kutchma, who stood out as the only candidate to oppose the bond referendum for a new George Mason High School, finished with 2,514, and for the second cycle in a row was the top finisher among those falling short. She has long been an advocate for special education, and has been a frequent critic of school budget and management practices. Mr. Crespin brought up the rear with 2,491.

It’s unclear what impact the results will have on the school board and the schools more generally. All the winning candidates supported the school bond, and Mr. Anderson, who racked up the largest number of votes among the newcomers, ran on a very conciliatory platform, promising to work well with others and support the schools while spending taxpayer money wisely.

Perhaps most notable is the dramatic change on the school board. Five of the seven board members will be new since 2015: tonight’s victors, along with Erin Gill and Phil Reitinger, who both were elected in the previous cycle. That’s massive turnover for any board or body, but especially unusual for the normally staid school board races, which frequently have had little or no competition.

What it means precisely may be difficult to determine, but it does seem likely that voters wanted fresh voices.

By
November 7, 2017 

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