I lost the school board race by 3%. It was close. We ran a positive campaign focusing on raising the graduation rate, keeping the public informed, targeting the money to the classroom, living within our means and keeping the public informed. In particular, I strongly opposed and voted against the school closing and eliminating teaching positions/ raising class sizes.
I thank all of you who helped and supported me, and a special thanks to my wife and my two children Scarlett and Amber who waved signs, helped me knock on doors and making the videos and all.
Generally, there was an anti-incumbent movement that we got caught up in that often doesn’t have a lot of discretion. As the economy gets better and as time has passed people want their government to spend more, tax more and borrow more. That’s not me, who believes in living within your needs.
There also was a good amount of smearing going on by my some affiliated with and supporting my opponent. For instance, everyone in Holly Springs and AR Lewis did not want the schools to close. I voted not to close them and was strongly opposed it. That was easy to prove by my voting record and the numerous public statements I made in the paper, in the newspaper and on TV. Naturally, I should have won those precincts by large margins given everyone didn’t want the schools closed. I lost one precinct and won the other, but not by a large amount.
When we were talking to people up there, some would say, Alex voted to close the schools, or Alex really didn’t mean it when he voted to keep them open or he made a deal and just voted that way. We would ask, how do you know that is true? They’d say they just heard it. It was all made-up, and had nothing to support it and you saw this written on Facebook as well. It was a smear -- what I did and said on that issue was totally spun on its head by design.
For example, I was greeting at the AR Lewis poll and Lori Durham (a teacher at Pickens Elementary) was greeting for my opponent too. I kid you not, she told this to scores of voters this: I’m Lori Durham and I was a teacher displaced by the closing of Holly Springs and we need to replace the school board that closed my school. We need to elect a new board member Shannon Haskett for a positive change. The same was said at other polls.
The voters naturally thought his opponent (me), voted to close the schools when in fact I voted not to close them and argued strongly the closures. It was a scripted smear designed to mislead voters just before they walked in to vote. We heard this was going on, but it was stunning to hear someone doing this firsthand.
Throughout the campaign I always had a choice to turn around and start making similar misleading statements about my opponent like most campaigns do. Then it turns into a food fight of false claims like we so often see in elections. I chose not to do that and focused on my record and any one helping me did the same. This put me at a disadvantage.
I served on the school board 12 years. I enjoyed it and will land on my feet; I always have. We'll see what happens in the future. Thank you all again. I'll catch up with you in a few days. Plenty of signs to pick up and paperwork to fill out.