Lentz and Grant win seats in school board race after ranked run-off

Sarah Lentz and Benjamin Grant were declared the winners of two Portland School Board seats after a ranked run-off on Wednesday morning.

Sarah Brydon won the District 5 seat.

The first ballot counting Tuesday night showed Sarah Lentz with 35.9% of the vote and Benjamin Grant with 24.6% leading the pack in the race at large. Stacey Hang was in third place with 14%.

After the second round on Wednesday, Lentz had 55.3% and Grant 55.7%.

Sarah Brydon garnered 44.5% of the vote on Tuesday night in the District 5 race. The second highest number of votes was Joshua Haefele, with 19.4%. After the second round, Brydon had 68.8%.

Because none of the candidates won outright by securing 50% of the vote in the first round of counting Tuesday night, the city held a second round Wednesday morning at City Hall.

In the priority voting system, voters are allowed to choose multiple candidates in order of preference.

Run-offs are triggered when no candidate receives a majority — more than 50% — of the vote, as was the case in the General and District Five races. In ranked-choice ballots, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and that candidate’s ballots are redistributed to their second-choice choices. This process continues until a candidate obtains a clear majority of votes.

Portland recorded a turnout of about 14% on Tuesday, with 8,521 voters casting ballots out of a total of 62,632 registered voters.

A total of 12 candidates put forward their names to fill the seats – seven sought one of the two vacant seats and five ran to represent District Five, which includes North Deering, part of Deering Center and Riverton, and eight of the 17 in the district. schools.

The winners will complete the terms of three former school board members who resigned mid-term. The big winners will serve until November 2022 in place of Anna Trevorrow and Roberto Rodriguez, who left their posts in November after winning city council seats. The District Five winner will serve until November 2023, replacing Jeff Irish, who stepped down in October.

The candidates for the general seats are Lentz, Grant, Richard Ward, Stacey Hang, Stephanie Albert, Kimberly Mancini and Amber Schertz. Candidates vying for the District Five seat are Brydon, Haefele, Lou Viola, Barbara Goglin and Elizabeth-Capone Newton.

Candidates who spoke to the Press Herald are running on a variety of platforms, including limiting the school budget, supporting district equity work, increasing support for student mental health and listening to voters.

But there was one area of ​​focus highlighted by every running candidate who spoke to the Press Herald — improving school board and school district transparency and communication.

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