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Northshore school board incumbent drops from race due to relocation | Update
Northshore School District board incumbent Julia Lacey dropped out of the general election, days after King and Snohomish County Elections certified the final primary election results.
Lacey was the top vote-getter in a three-way race for the Director District No. 1 seat against Kimberly D’Angelo and Marci Cheesebrough, garnering more than 8,000 votes.
However, she cited a personal opportunity that came up shortly after the August primary will cause her to relocate out of the director district, leaving Kimberly D’Angelo as the only active candidate campaigning for the seat.
But both Lacey and D’Angelo will remain on the general election ballot in November, since Lacey missed the May 20 deadline for withdrawing from the race.
“I have sincerely enjoyed serving the Northshore students, staff and community as your school board director these past four years and am proud of the positive impact my leadership has had on the district,” said Lacey in an emailed statement to the Reporter. “So it is with a heavy heart that I must concede my candidacy for the Northshore School Board.”
But it is Cheesebrough who is impacted the most by Lacey's timing.
"I think it is incredibly unfair to the voters who are now left with no choice," said Cheesebrough. "It is a strange coincident that this happened days after the primary."
Lacey, who was elected to the school board in 2009 and has served as board president since 2011, did not specifically say in her statement what the opportunity was that caused her to concede. She said though her family will stay in Bothell, they will move out of the director district, which will make her ineligible to serve a second term.
“I respect the importance of my position and the election process, so I am disappointed that I was not able to anticipate this life event prior to the candidate filing period in May,” said Lacey, thanking the many voters who supported her over the years and during her recent campaign. “I was so overwhelmed by and appreciative of the tremendous voter support during the primary, it made my decision to move even more difficult. Ultimately, I must do what is best for my family.”
She will serve out the remainder of her current term that expires in November. She also plans to submit a statement in the voters’ pamphlets for King and Snohomish counties, notifying voters of her decision not to seek another term.
“It was a surprise to me when she said she was going to move,” said D’Angelo, who received a call from Lacey prior to the Aug. 13 board meeting. During that meeting, D’Angelo said that Lacey announced she was relocating “but I didn’t know how that would play out until I called King and Snohomish County Elections,” D’Angelo said. “I still have to win the general election.”
D’Angelo said she thinks it’s “the right thing for her to do to put out a statement to let voters know and be transparent that she is no longer a viable candidate.” She said Lacey’s transparency allows her to run a “more strategic” campaign.
“I’m really looking forward to serving the community that I’ve been a part of since I was in school and I think that I’ll be a great asset to the board,” said D’Angelo, who was endorsed by Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe and, most recently, King County Councilman Rob Dembowski.
Northshore Superintendent Larry Francois said the district was also taken by surprise with Lacey’s decision.
“I think it was a surprise for her as well with this opportunity to purchase this piece of property,” said Francois, noting that Lacey announced to the board that she and her family have the opportunity to purchase a new home with some property that they hope to develop. “It’s a unique personal circumstance that presented itself that she didn’t foresee in June when she decided to seek a second term.”
Francois said he was also personally “selfishly disappointed” that Lacey won’t seek another term because the board member learned a lot during her first term that she won’t get to apply to a second term.
He stressed to voters that since Lacey’s name will remain on November’s ballot, she remains an active candidate. He said if Lacey receives the majority of votes, but no longer resides in the director district, her seat will be declared vacant. The district would then seek her replacement.
But if D’Angelo gains the majority of votes, the district “would welcome her presence on the board,” said Francois, adding the candidate is “positively motivated.”