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2 School Board incumbents win

Doris Ross Reddick and Glenn Barrington hold off their challengers, but Sharon Danaher loses to Jack Lamb in a tight race.

By SARAH SCHWEITZER

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2000


TAMPA -- Voters kept two incumbents and ousted one incumbent in the Hillsborough County School Board races decided Tuesday.

Incumbent Doris Ross Reddick trounced Clarence White, a former teacher and coach, by a more than 2-to-1 ratio in the District 5 race, which encompasses much of the city of Tampa.

Incumbent Glenn Barrington won his race against Henry Beltran in District 1.

In what many expected to be the closest race, incumbent Sharon Danaher lost to Jack Lamb, a longtime school administrator in both Pinellas and Hillsborough. It was the tightest race of the three, with Lamb winning by just a few percentage points.

"We had an uphill battle," said Lamb, 66, who celebrated his victory at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City with dozens of family members and friends. "But with the help of all these hundreds of volunteers, we pulled it off."

Tuesday's results were largely unsurprising. Barrington, a three-term incumbent, and Reddick, a two-term incumbent, enjoyed the endorsement of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, the teachers' union. In addition, both raised more money and spent more money than their opponents.

Danaher, 51, although the incumbent and endorsed by the teachers' union, had been the underdog in fundraising in her race in District 3 in northern Hillsborough County. Indeed, Lamb raised nearly a third more than Danaher and had a highly mobilized corps of volunteers.

Danaher enjoyed strong grass-roots support from many years of volunteering in the schools, friends who apparently turned out in numbers not large enough to put her over the top in District 3, which she represented for one term.

In recent days, the teachers' union had raised questions about Lamb's connection to the Hillsborough Association of School Administrators, which lobbies on behalf of administrators. Lamb reacted angrily to the charges and denied that his ties to the association would compromise his ability to deal with teacher issues.

"He was good at raising funds, and that was good for him," Danaher said. "I'm disappointed. The board has been my life, but that's the way it goes."

Henry Beltran, 74, who represented the chance for the first Hispanic on the School Board since 1988, was outmatched by his opponent, Barrington, in dollars and political experience. Barrington, 77, a three-term incumbent, raised $24,475 to Beltran's $10,195.

District 1 has the largest percentage of Hispanics in the county, with 20 percent of its residents identified as Hispanic.

Both men brought similar experience to the table: years of working in the school system as both administrators and teachers.

Barrington, who celebrated with two dozen friends at his home Tuesday night, said he was delighted to have won a fourth term.

"It's far better to go out a winner," Barrington said. "We go on from here and there is a lot of work to be done."

Beltran, a Cuban native who came to the United States as a young man and taught English to hundreds of immigrants in the area, expressed disappointment that the School Board would still be without a Hispanic representative.

"We have no representation and nothing that we can do about it," Beltran said. "But we keep on trying our best, and good luck to the young man."

Doris Ross Reddick, a two-term incumbent, was the long-favored candidate in District 5, particularly after White suffered the embarrassment of submitting a bad check to satisfy his qualifying fee. He was able to qualify by paying the money with a cashier's check, along with a late fee.

Another School Board contest, between incumbent Carol Kurdell and challenger Melissa Hernandez, still remains. It will be held Nov. 7 because Hernandez is a write-in candidate.

- Sarah Schweitzer can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or schweitzer@sptimes.com.

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