DEMOCRATS FINISH STRONG IN GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD RACES

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By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – Although school board races are officially nonpartisan, the political parties weighed in with endorsements backing candidates in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Per the district rules, the top two-vote getters in each district will square off in a run-off, though Democrats won majorities in two of the three contests.

In District 1, the Democratic Party endorsed Democratic challenger Linda Cartwright got a majority of the votes, finishing ahead of incumbent Edwin Hiel, a Democrat who had previously survived a recall effort by conservatives over his pro-project labor agreement vote. On a later controversial labor measure Heil did not vote, and the pro-labor measure passed anyway, but he lost union backing, findign himself in a no-win situation. Cartwright, a teacher and former president of National City Elementary School Teachers Association, won 51.3% of the vote over Republican-backed Jonathan Olsen with 32.23%; Hiel received 16.3%.  Cartwright and Olsen will square off in the November run-off.

In District 2, incumbent Democrat Debbie Justeson won  60.39% of the vote  vs.Republican candidate Bill Exeter with 28%.  A third candidate, Jonathan Bowman, got 11.34%. Justeson and Exeter head for the run-off. 

District 5 is an open seat due to Democrat Greg Barr stepping down.  The race heads to a runoff between Democratic-backed Brad Monroe, a college instructor who drew 41.11% of the vote, and Teresa Rosiak, a medical credentialling specialist who is the Republican’s choice with 33.2%. Wesley Thomas Jr.,a former Superintendent, drew 25.4% while.028% wrote in someone else. District 5 is the most ethnically diverse district with 39 percent Hispanic, 13.5 percent black, and 35 percent non-Hispanic white.

Correction: An earlier version of this article indicate two races were decided outright. In fact the district rules are different from rules for state and countywide races, requiring a run-off regardless of whether any candidate earns a majority in the primary.