March 26, 2013

Mansfield school board candidate withdraws; race still on

Resignation comes too late to cancel election.

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Mansfield has only one contested race this year and last week one of the candidates announced that she was withdrawing her name. However, the Mansfield school district will still have to hold the election May 11.

Dora Watson, 57, announced she was dropping out of the race for Place 5 on the Mansfield school board, but her decision will not affect the ballot, said board secretary Julie Moye.

“It’s too late, her name will still be on the ballot,” said Moye, who called the Secretary of State to see if the district could cancel the election. March 4 was the last day that Watson could have withdrawn and had her name removed, Moye said.

Watson, an education consultant, had filed to run against Karen Marcucci, 38, an administrator at a local church, for Place 5, after nine-year veteran Sandra Vatthauer, 51, dropped out of the race. Current school board president Beth Light, 56, defeated Watson last year to earn her third three-year term in Place 2.

Watson sent a letter to Moye dated March 19 announcing that she was withdrawing her candidacy for the Mansfield ISD “due to an unexpected business opportunity which has presented itself to me and to which I cannot say no.”

Watson listed Don Peavy Sr. as her campaign treasurer and her contact for the election. Peavy did not return calls Monday.

The school district will still have to hold the election, said Moye, who estimated it could cost $30,000. The district is unclear what its fee will be this year, said spokesperson Richie Escovedo. The school district usually works with the city to hold elections, but the city cancelled its elections this year after both incumbents --- Mayor David Cook and council member Brent Newsom, both 41 -- were unopposed.

Two Mansfield school board members were also unopposed, incumbents Michael Evans, 46, in Place 3 and Raul Gonzalez, 50, in Place 4.

Marcucci, Watson’s competition, fears that people will not turn out to vote.

“My understanding is that Dora Watson is not actively campaigning at this time,” she said. “I’m disappointed that the district will have to spend the money for the election, but hopeful that I will be elected and have the opportunity to serve.

“I hope people will still come out to vote,” Marcucci said. “I still have a competitor on the ballot and I must win this election to serve on the board.”

Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451

Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM

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