Erica Hill earns most votes in Lawrence school board election; Cadue-Blackwood, Kimball, Smith also elected

Lawrence school board candidate Erica Hill waits for preliminary election results at the Douglas County Courthouse on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

Erica Hill said she was overwhelmed Tuesday evening when she saw how many votes she had received for election to the Lawrence school board.

Hill, one of five candidates running for four open seats on the board, ran away with the most votes, receiving 9,102 with all precincts counted. She led the pack all evening and finished on top.

“I’m just very grateful for the outcome,” Hill said at the Douglas County Courthouse, where she watched the results come in. “I did not expect to get the most votes.”

Along with Hill, voters elected Carole Cadue-Blackwood and incumbent Shannon Kimball to the board. The fourth and final seat was a tight race, but Paula Smith eked out the victory over Thea Perry by almost 270 votes.

With their elections, Cadue-Blackwood, Hill and Smith will replace current board members Jessica Beeson, Rick Ingram and Jill Fincher in January. Kimball, the only incumbent candidate, will retain her seat on the board.

After learning of the results, Kimball told the Journal-World she was grateful that voters were sending her back to serve a third term. She was on her way to finish in second with 8,337 votes.

“I’m grateful to have another opportunity to do this work for our students and our district,” she said. “To me, that’s the most important thing. I’m excited for the future for Lawrence Public Schools, and I think I have a lot to offer over the next four years.”

Cadue-Blackwood learned of the election results when she spoke to the Journal-World. She was unable to watch the results come in because she was at Lawrence High School for her daughter’s concert.

Cadue-Blackwood, who earned 8,294, said she was excited to be elected because she was the only one of the five candidates who had gone to Lawrence Public Schools for her entire K-12 education.

“I’m a Lawrence product, so I’m super excited,” she said.

Although Hill, Cadue-Blackwood and Kimball ran away with their elections, with each getting more than 8,000 votes, the final seat on the board was a tight race between Smith and Perry. Smith held on to her slight lead to win over Perry, with 6,935 votes to Perry’s 6,667.

Perry was the only candidate not to win election to the board.

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