The Canal Winchester school board race has been an up-and-down affair months before a single vote has been cast, but after the dust has settled, the race now is uncontested.
Beginning last month, incumbent and board Vice President Matt Krueger’s candidacy for reelection initially was disqualified for certification by the Franklin County Board of Elections because only 24 of the required 25 signatures on his petition were deemed to be valid.
That left one candidate, school board President Kevin Butler, for two seats.
Enter Robert Stedman, who chose to step in as a write-in candidate.
“When I discovered an open spot for the Canal Winchester school district board of education, I decided to file as a write-in because a position of that importance should not be filled as an appointed position but rather by the voters of the school district,” Stedman said, adding that school board members could have appointed a new member at the beginning of next year.
Then the elections board Sept. 9 reversed its decision, allowing Krueger’s candidacy to stand after he provided affidavits from residents whose signatures had been deemed invalid.
With Krueger back in, Stedman contacted the elections board Sept. 13 to say he had withdrawn, according to Aaron Sellers, elections board spokesman..
“When the appeal for Mr. Krueger’s invalidated petition was granted by the Franklin County Board of Elections, I realized that a write-in candidate running against two balloted individuals for two spots was unlikely to be successful, and rather than spend campaign funds for 2019, it makes more sense to reserve those funds for the 2021 election as a candidate on the ballot,” Stedman said.
Krueger declined to comment on Stedman’s withdrawal, but Butler said he respects Stedman’s decision to step down.
“... and know he’s doing what’s best for his family and the district,” Butler said. “I truly respect anyone who wants to get involved, and I wish him the best of luck.”
Barring any surprises, Butler, 38, and Krueger, 49, will serve another term on the board.
Butler, who lives on Kenrich Drive in Canal Winchester, is completing his first term and already has become board president.
He has worked as a special-education teacher in the Whitehall City School District for 12 years. That experience, he said, bolsters his ability to serve the Canal Winchester school district.
“I have the perspective of being a parent in the district and being in the classroom, as well,” he said.
As the father of kindergarten and fifth-grade students, Butler said, he is motivated in large part to serve to ensure his children are afforded quality education and opportunities.
“That’s one of the main reasons I’m running, to make sure my kids are able to get the best education possible,” Butler said. “It’s a motivating factor, but so is being able to provide this for my neighbors and for everyone in the community as well.”
Krueger, a Rossmore Lane resident, is in his second term on the board. He works in sales at the Worth Ave. Group, a consumer-electronics insurance provider.
He said he hopes to build on the momentum generated from his previous two terms.
“[I aim] to continue the great work I have seen over the past eight years in working with the teachers and administration,” he said. “The great work is in reference to the development of our incredible students in CW and to see them go off and become amazing citizens in the communities where they live and start raising their families.”
Canal Winchester residents will see other contested races this fall, though.
Mayor Mike Ebert faces challengers Bruce Jarvis and Doug Snyder.
Council incumbents Bob Clark and Mike Walker face challengers Scott Conner, Chuck Milliken and Randy Stemen for three open seats. Jarvis, an incumbent, is not seeking reelection because he's in the mayoral race.
Military and overseas voting began Sept. 20; early in-person and absentee voting for others begins Oct. 8.
Look for election coverage in the ThisWeek Canal Winchester Times and at ThisWeekNEWS.com/CanalWinchester and ThisWeekNEWS.com/Elections.