2018 Orange County School Board Contests Heat Up

Published in Orlando Political Observer. See the article here.

By the time qualifying ends IN THIS CROWDED ELECTION YEAR, there very well may be 20 candidates running for school board.

Last month, school board member Nancy Robinson filed to run for chair and raised a modest $1,000 and loaned her campaign $5,000 to start. HOWEVER, SHE HAS A NEW Opponent IN THE RACE IN  Robert Allen Prater, who filed to run two days after Christmas. His first financial reports aren’t in yet and we’re not likely to see a full report from him until February.

Over in District 1, five candidates are fighting to replace school board member Joie Cadle. Angie Gallo filed to run in November and raised $5,350. That’s pretty good for Gallo and shows that she’ll be tough to rundown as the campaign slugs along. CANDIDATE David Mitchell Haynes, HAS UNDERPERFORMED and for the seventh time, Haynes has filed a waiver for his financial report QUESTIONING WHETHER HE WILL BE ABLE TO QUALIFY IN JUNE.  The third candidate filed in District 1 is Terry Rooth out of Winter Park, BUT Like Haynes, Rooth filed a waiver. LASTLY IN DISTRICT 1, Heather Watson Traynham WHOSE FIRST REPORTING SINCE SHE FILED IN NOVEMBER  IS NOT TOO bad. She raised $2,000 but both contributions came from the same home: hers. She wrote a check to her campaign of $1,000 and so did her husband.

In District 2, where six candidates ARE BATTLING TO A CERTAIN RUNOFF IN NOVEMBER, INCLUDES the latest candidate to file Johanna Lopez. FILING TWO WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTMAS IS CERTAINLY AN INTERESTING DECISION, BUT POSSIBLY THE CURRENT TEACHER CAN PULL OUT A PRODUCTIVE FIRST FINANCIAL REPORT. Two other candidates, Sara Au and Jacqueline Centeno, have both raised a little under $3,000 combined EVEN THOUGH both candidates have been in the race for longer than two months.

Two additional candidates, David Michael Grimm and Demetrius Smith, aren’t raising a lot of money either. Smith filed a waiver for his last report and Grimm raised $835 last month. That brought his total to $1,270 for his campaign.

But the FRONTRUNNER candidate to watch in District 2 continues to be Chadwick Hardee. The military veteran, FORMER TREASURER FOR ORANGE COUNTY PTSA AND CURRENT  PTA PRESIDENT FOR HIS CHILDREN’S SCHOOL IN LAKE NONA has raised an impressive $16,385 for a school board seat. His fundraising numbers have slowed some as of late but he’s still far and away the best financed candidate in the race.  HEADING INTO 2018, AND A CROWDED RACE, ORANGE COUNTY SHOULD EXPECT CHADWICK TO RAMP UP HIS CAMPAIGN.

Over in District 3, two candidates are attempting to replace Linda Kobert  WHO DECIDED TO RUN TO RETAIN HER SEAT only raised $100 in November but loaned her campaign $5000. The vice chairman of the school board is likely to ramp things up in 2018 AS WELL

The two remaining candidates, Jessica Torrence and Richard Victor, have raised a combined $1,428 AND HAVE A TOUGH CAMPAIGN YEAR AHEAD OF THEM AS KOLBERT HAD A SUCESSFUL FIRST TERM IN OFFICE.

NO MATTER HOW THESE RACES TURN OUT, THE OUTLOOK OF A POST ELECTION BOARD WILL BE DIFFERENT AND EXCITING FOR ORANGE COUNTY STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND TEACHERS.