Longtime Montgomery County school board member falls in runoff

Decision 2018: Rhonda Oates wins District 5 race for school board
Updated: Jul. 17, 2018 at 11:31 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Tuesday's run-off election means even more changes for the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Claudia Mitchell upset incumbent Robert Porterfield.

"My first priority is the students and getting out of intervention. It's time for me to do my due diligence. Studying, learning different perspectives, learning what's going on so I can make wise decisions. I want to do that by listening to the people," Mitchell said.

Mitchell received more than twice as many votes as Porterfield, who currently serves as the chairman of the Board and has sat on the board for 10 years.

Porterfield offered this statement:

I'm doing well. The people have spoken. This is God's will. I'm going to continue to focus. The sitting board is working hard and will keep working hard. We will get everything we need to be fully accredited by November. We're working hard for that. And we are working on the intervention. I'm staying focused. Amen.

In the District 1 run-off, Marcus Vandiver defeated Frederick Turner by a mere 43 votes, an even smaller margin than the 49 votes that separated the pair in the primaries. Vandiver will go up against Lesa Keith in November's General Election.

Vandiver released this statement after his victory:

I would like to thank the voters in District 1 for their support and all those who helped with my campaign. The community is ready for a change in Montgomery Public Schools, and I'm excited to have this opportunity to be a part of that change. I also want to thank my opponent, Fredrick Turner, for a positive and hard-fought race. I'm ready to carry this momentum forward to not only work for a win in the general election but also a chance to make a difference for Montgomery's students.

Clare Weil defeated Brenda Irby for the District 2 Democratic seat. She will be up against Republican Ted Lowry in November. Meanwhile, Rhonda Oats beat DeVona Sims in District 5. She will face Republican Jannah Bailey in November. Bailey defeated Incumbent Melissa Snowden in the Republican primaries.

These results mean only one of the current members who was running to keep their seat is still in the running, and the Board will now see at least four new members by the end of year.

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