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Recount in Union County race confirms earlier results
[November 26, 2012]

Recount in Union County race confirms earlier results

Nov 26, 2012 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A recount Monday morning for a Union County school board race upheld the earlier outcome, with incumbent Carolyn Lowder losing to challenger Kevin Stewart by 74 votes.

Lowder, who had served on the board for 18 years, lost in the recount of the District 2 seat . The final recount numbers were: Stewart, 5291 votes and Lowder, 5,217 votes, county Board of Elections Director John Whitley said.

He said Lowder had picked up a vote or two in some precincts but lost a couple elsewhere, with the net result remaining unchanged during the three-hour recount. The county was not required to recount the votes for Chris Randall, who finished third on election night, Whitley said.

"It's been a long process," Stewart said. "I'm glad it has reached a conclusion and I look forward to taking my seat on the board Dec. 4 and getting to work." Lowder's loss follows on the heels of the defeat of incumbents David Scholl and Laura Minsk, who lost their at-large seats to Christina B. Helms and Mike Guzman. Three other candidates also had sought the two at-large seats.

The losses come in a year when school district and school board leaders fell under intense community criticism for initially deciding to cut all 350 teacher assistant jobs to help close a deficit in the district's budget. Those positions eventually were restored after county commissioners agreed to one-time funding to help cover the costs, and the district later returned that money when fewer than anticipated assistants returned to their jobs.

"I think the teacher assistants debacle was a big part of" all the incumbents losing, Stewart said, along with a belief by some in the community that the board was not responsive to people's concerns and needed more transparency.

Lowder said Monday that she wanted to congratulate Stewart, and wished him and the new board well. The retired high school science teacher from the Wingate area had served as chair of the school board from 1994 to 2002.

Bell: 704-358-5696 ___ (c)2012 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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