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Two withdraw from Fort Worth school board race, meaning third candidate wins by default

03/05/2013 11:19 PM

03/14/2013 3:56 PM

FORT WORTH -- Political newcomer Matthew Avila, 39, is set to become the District 8 trustee on the Fort Worth school board because the incumbent and another candidate dropped out of the race Monday.

Avila, vice president of legal affairs at Thos. S. Byrne, a Fort Worth-based general contracting firm, filed for the seat Friday, the last day candidates could file.

On Monday, incumbent J.R. Martinez and challenger Anael Luebanos withdrew from the race.

The election is May 11. Of the five board seats up for election, now only two are contested -- District 1 and District 9.

The school board is expected to vote on April 9 to cancel elections for the three uncontested races. Avila will be sworn in at a board meeting after the election, said Edward L. Spears, the district's business support services manager.

Martinez, 46, was appointed to the District 8 seat last spring. Asked why he abandoned his bid for a full four-year term, Martinez said: "As the district improves, we need more people to step up to continue to make sure that our kids get a good quality education. I look forward to supporting our leaders on the school board."

Luebanos, 28, an accountant, said he withdrew for personal reasons.

District 8 is a south-side seat created last year after the Fort Worth school board went to all single-member districts. The predominantly Hispanic district was drawn using a revised voting map based on 2010 population figures.

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326

Twitter: @jessamybrown

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