By Linda Cicoira — Five contested races will be on the ballot in Accomack County in the November general election, including two matches for school board positions. It will be the first time voters there will get to choose school board members as those representatives were previously chosen by the school board selection commission, a panel appointed by the circuit court judge.
The deadline for candidates to qualify was Tuesday. If anyone else wants to take part, they will have to do so through write-in campaigns.
District 4 school board member Gary S. Reese, of Parksley, was appointed by the SBSC and qualified for the November race against school activist Connie C. Burford, of Bloxom, an advocate for an elected school board who worked to get the issue to voters.
Janet Martin-Turner, a former school board member, who was not reappointed to the board by the commission after she clashed with other school board members who didn’t want her to speak publicly about issues, is seeking the District 7 seat held by George Waldenmaier, who was her predecessor. Martin-Turner also worked to get a referendum for an elected school board. Thomas E. “T.J.” Johnson III, a former school administrator, is also asking for a chance at the District 7 seat. Both candidates live in the Accomac area.
School board member Audrey Furness, of District 2, will not seek election. Edward F. Taylor, of Assawoman, an active Kegotank Elementary School PTA member, wants that job.
Jesse W. Speidel, of Chincoteague’s District 1; Camesha A. Handy, of the Parksley area in District 5; Paul C. Bull, of the Accomac area in District 6; and Ronnie E. Holden, of the Onancock area in District 8 were all appointed to the school board by the commission and are seeking election.
In District 9, Naudya Mapp, an appointed member, did not seek to become qualified. Malcolm “Pep” White, of Painter, is running unopposed for the seat.
School board Member Aaron Kane, of District 3, is not seeking election. Lisa C. Johnson, a Horntown minister, is running unopposed for that post.
An incumbent Accomack supervisor is being opposed in District 5. Supervisor Harrison W. “Harris” Phillips III is being challenged by James D. Rich. Both men live in the Bloxom area.
Longtime District 7 Supervisor Laura Belle Gordy is not seeking re-election. Miriam E. Riggs and Howard “Jackie” Phillips, both of Cashville, are vying for the seat.
Vanessa K. Johnson, an Accomack County employee from New Church, is seeking the District 3 seat. Supervisor Grayson Chesser is not seeking re-election.
District 4 Supervisor Paul E. J. Muhly, of Parksley, is running unopposed. Jim “Kaz” Kaczmarck Jr., of Parksley, applied to run but didn’t get in all the documents needed to qualify, according to the voter registrar.
District 1 Supervisor William J. “Billy Joe” Tarr, of Chincoteague, is seeking re-election without opposition as are Ronald S. “Ron” Wolff, of District 2, who lives in Assawoman; Robert D. Crockett, of District 6, who lives in Onancock; Donald L. Hart Jr., of District 8, who lives in Keller; and C. Reneta Major, of District 9, who lives in the Painter area.
In races for constitutional offices, James A. Littleston Sr., of Melfa, and Brandy Custis Childress, of Accomac, are vying for treasurer. Littleston has worked in the treasurer’s office for years. Childress is in banking. Treasurer Dana Bundick is retiring.
Captain Todd Wessells, of the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, a resident of the Painter area, is unopposed in his quest for sheriff. Sheriff Todd Godwin is retiring.
Commonwealth’s Attorney J. Spencer Morgan III, of Onancock, and Commissioner of the Revenue Deborah T. Midgett, of Parksley, are not opposed in seeking their first full four-year terms. Both were elected to fill the unexpired terms of previous constitutional officers.