Update: Race for county schools superintendent coming down to the wire

Latest count shows only 75 votes separate candidates

With 105,091 votes counted in the contest for the San Mateo County Office of Education superintendent post, only 75 votes separate candidates Gary Waddell and Nancy Magee.

The results released late Tuesday, June 12, show Waddell with 40,487 votes, or 50.05 percent, and Magee with 40,412, or 49.95 percent. The San Mateo County elections office says about 50,500 votes remain to be counted.

Jim Irizarry, assistant assessor-county clerk-recorder and chief elections officer, said more totals are to be released at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 15, and on Wednesday, June 20, when, Irizarry said, "we anticipate that most, if not all, of the ballots cast" will have been counted.

Voter turnout in the primary election appears to have been about 40 percent, Irizarry said.

Waddell has led from the time the first vote totals were released at the close of Election Day, but each time more votes are counted the gap between the two candidates has narrowed.

Irizarry said San Mateo County does not have automatic recounts, no matter how close an election. He said the elections code states that within five days following the certification of the election (July 5 for this election), any registered voter may file a written request for recount in any race.

A recount request must specify which candidate it is filed on behalf of and, in the case of a countywide office such as superintendent of schools, should be filed with the county elections office.

The recount starts after notifying candidates and the public, but no later than seven days following receipt of the request, and must continue on weekdays for not less than six hours each day until done, Irizarry said.

 Any recount will be conducted in public by a special recount board of four county voters appointed by Mark Church, the county's assessor-county clerk-recorder and chief elections officer.

The requester has to pay the expenses of a recount. But, if the candidate the recount was done on behalf of is elected, all the money is repaid, Irizarry said.

Both Waddell and Magee work in the San Mateo County Office of Education, Waddell as deputy superintendent and Magee as associate superintendent. Both started campaigning in 2017 to take the job now held by their boss, Anne Campbell, who didn't run for a third four-year term.

The county school superintendent manages a $90 million budget and a staff of 450 while overseeing the 23 school districts in the county. The office of education says Campbell's base salary is currently $235,428.

Both candidates live on the Coastside -- Waddell in Pacifica and Magee in Half Moon Bay -- and both have long tenures in education.

Magee, 58, told The Almanac in an email that she ran "as a passionate advocate for all students, to support our educator workforce, and to ensure students get an excellent education and graduate with relevant skills."

Waddell, 55, said in an email that he ran "because I have spent my entire career -- as a teacher, counselor, principal, deputy superintendent, and statewide curriculum leader -- in the service of equity."

The two candidates each raised more than $100,000 for the contest, campaign finance reports filed on May 24 show. Magee had raised more than $122,000 in cash, non-monetary donations and loans while Waddell had raised more than $115,000. By that date Magee had spent more than $95,000 and Waddell had spent more than $90,000. Both loaned their campaigns a considerable amount of their own money — Waddell $10,000 and Magee $35,000.

Check back for updates or go to the San Mateo County elections office website.


• See earlier stories:

Update: Waddell still slightly ahead in schools superintendent race

Waddell and Magee vie for county superintendent of schools job

Spending is high in county schools superintendent race


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