Rita Thompson, the only incumbent at-large School Board member seeking re-election was running fourth, behind Janet Oleszek, Steve Hunt and one-time fellow board member Ilryong Moon, with 177 of the 225 polling places reporting Tuesday night. The top three of the six candidates will serve on the school board.
"I don't think I was expecting that. I think it's a wait-and-see game," Thompson said. "I didn't expect to be in fourth position at this time. It's like when I first ran, but certainly not as the incumbent. It looks like a longer night than I had anticipated."
THE UNOFFICIAL RESULTS, with 79 percent of the precincts reporting, the votes had Oleszek, a first-time candidate, leading the field of six with 65,842 votes; followed by Steve Hunt, who ran in 1999, with 61,567; then Moon, who was elected in 1995 to represent the Braddock district then lost his re-election bid the following year, with 59,305; Thompson, who won her seat in 1999, with 59,057; two other first-time candidates Lynn Terhar and Nell Hurley trailed the field with 56,387 votes and 52,445 votes respectively.
"Totally surprised. I didn't expect [to be the top vote getter]," Oleszek said. "I didn't expect to be one of the three. I had no way of knowing. I've been working as an advocate for 20 years. You make a lot of enemies and a lot of friends."
Hunt by contrast, was confident he would be on the School Board after failing to gain a seat four years ago.
"You work really, really hard for something, we expected good results and got them," Hunt said. "We had a lot of good synergy across the county. We started our campaign the day after the last race, so I had name recognition this time."
The victory, however, is bittersweet Hunt said. While the School Board is nonpartisan, the candidates seek endorsements from the major parties and Hunt will be one of two Republican-endorsed members on the 12-member board.
"I'm very pleased. There is a little bit of looking forward to being on the board and the responsibility that comes with it. And there's some concern that I'll be in such a minority," Hunt said.
IN THE DISTRICT RACES, all of the incumbents that were running won re-election. The results with 79 percent of the polling places reporting are: incumbent and unopposed Wilson (Braddock) receiving 12,138 votes; incumbent Stuart Gibson (Hunter Mill) defeating Arthur Purves, 12,041 to 2,708; incumbent and unopposed Jane Strauss (Dranesville) receiving 14,030 votes; Brad Center defeating T.P. "Terrie" Dacales for the open Lee seat 5,949 to 4,123; incumbent L. Kaye Kory (Mason) defeating Douglas Barylski 7,065 to 5,375; Daniel Storck defeating Marsha Paul for the open Mount Vernon seat 8,217 to 6,974; unopposed Phil Niedzielski-Eichner wins the Providence seat with 12,155; incumbent Cathy Belter (Springfield) defeating Scott Martin 9,943 to 7,791; and incumbent Kathy Smith (Sully) defeated Carl Cecil 7,248 to 5,592.
In addition, the voters approved the school bond request for $290 million by a margin of 107,183 to 34,777, with 48 precincts yet to report.