Julia Lacey, president of the Northshore School Board, withdrew from the race for reelection — after garnering 47 percent of the vote in the primary election, more than any other candidate — because she will move out of the district.
"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," Lacey wrote in an emailed statement. "So it is with a heavy heart that I must concede my candidacy for the Northshore School Board."
Lacey explained that soon after the primary at the beginning of August, she found a new "opportunity" that will require her to move. Although she’ll stay in Bothell, she will move out of the district in which she was running. "I respect the importance of my position and the election process so am disappointed that I was not able to anticipate this life event prior to the candidate filing period in May," Lacey wrote. "... 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."
Since Lacey dropped out of the race after the withdrawal deadline in May, her name will remain on the ballot, according to Kim Van Ekstrom, chief communications officer for King County Elections.
Kimberly D’Angelo, who earned 32 percent of the vote in the primary election, will be the only active candidate.
However, Lacey could potentially still be elected, Van Ekstrom said. If that happened, the office would be vacant, and the school board would follow its normal procedures for filling a vacancy — appointing a candidate with the vote of at least 3 board members.
D’Angelo said she understands Lacey’s reasons for dropping out of the race and thinks Lacey’s dropping out after the withdrawal deadline was the right way to handle a situation Lacey couldn’t have foreseen months ago.
"People’s lives change, and I’m happy for her that she has a new opportunity," D’Angelo said. "I don’t think there was anything behind it."
Although D’Angelo will be the only active candidate, she still plans to take the election seriously and hopes voters will do the same.
"I think the biggest message we need to get out is that people still need to vote," D’Angelo said. "I’m still planning to go out and meet voters and doorbell, and I’ve actually really enjoyed that."
Lacey’s withdrawal doesn’t mean that the third-place candidate from the primary, Marci Cheesebrough, will get a place on the ballot, but she could still run as a write-in candidate, Van Ekstrom said.
"I am disappointed and believe it is very unfortunate that the voters will have no choice in this general election for the Director No. 1 position," Cheesebrough wrote in an email. "I also find it odd/coincidental that this happened days after the primary. I have been lead to believe Julia has been working on this move for a while and this was not a last minute decision. Many people have expressed to me that this does not sit well with them."
Lacey was elected to the school board in 2009 and has served as president since 2011.
She will still serve the remainder of her current term, which ends in November. She will continue to be an advocate for students and for the community, she said.