This story have been updated to reflect that after mail-in ballots were counted, Bill Buchanan beat John Abbott for the District 1 Board of Education seat.
The Worcester County Board of Education elections Tuesday saw two of three incumbents on the ballot retain their seats, while one newcomer to that arena was voted to the board by county residents.
Bill Gordy easily fended off Jamie Rice with 77 percent of the vote.
Bill Buchanan came back from an early deficit to overtake John Abbott with 51 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Nate Passwaters was definitively defeated in his race by Katie Addis.
“I’m just glad I won,” Gordy said. “I want to thank the electorate for giving me another term in office. I enjoyed the previous eight years on the board of education. We’ve done a lot of good things and I look forward to continuing that work and doing what’s best for the students and the staff of Worcester County.
Addis, in saying she won a hard-fought victory, spoke highly of her predecessor.
“Nate and I spoke at polling places and we had good conversations,” Addis said. “We have been respectful to each other the entire time and it shows because we’re able to continue working together throughout this process as we all move forward.
“I’m just extremely happy to know that between Nate and me, we each had a hardworking, clean campaign.”
Addis did point out, however, that with nearly 500 extra votes, the people of District 6 (Bishopville-Showell) sent a clear message.
“(I’m excited to get to work) throughout the next coming months and being able to have some good and hard conversations, with everyone being able to understand where everyone’s at,” Addis said. “The people have spoken on how they feel the schools need to be worked on and changed and I’m looking forward to beginning that work.”
Abbott, Addis and Rice all ran on extremely similar tickets, practically running together. Common issues among the three included opening up school curriculums to the public, closely monitoring what books are allowed in school libraries and stopping what Abbott called the “sexualization” of the county’s children.
Incumbent Todd Ferrante held his seat as well, running unopposed.
Passwaters, who works with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, spoke in his campaign about the strengths of the county, including its fully staffed teacher workforce and the county’s proactive approach to returning students to in-person learning as quickly as possible.
Passwaters also allowed himself to look forward to a budget process in which his successor Addis will now be involved.
“As we navigate through the tedious budget process to meet the (our) needs, we will certainly be faced with some significant challenges,” he said.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
John Abbott 1054
Bill Buchanan 1103
Bill Gordy 1,976
Jamie Rice 600
Katie Addis 1,961
Nate Passwaters 1,478
Todd Ferrante 2,441