The loss of a longtime incumbent means Virginia Beach will have all-female school board

Peter Coutu, The Virginian-Pilot
·3 min read

In Virginia Beach, all school board members will soon be women.

In the only surprise of the night, longtime board member and former chair Dan Edwards, currently the only man of the group, lost his seat to newcomer Jennifer Franklin, according to unofficial results last updated Wednesday afternoon. Competing to represent the Kempsville District, Franklin picked up 99,776 votes and Edwards garnered 84,068.

Otherwise, the night went about as expected, with the four other incumbents notching easy victories. And so, even with five of 11 seats up for grabs on Election Day, the board ended up looking largely the same after most of the votes were tallied.

“I’m incredibly humbled and honored,” Franklin said Wednesday. “I’ve had like three hours of sleep so I’m slightly emotional. I’m very honored to have been elected.”

Franklin, who works as a mortgage banker, has helped lead the Kempsville High School Parent-Teacher Student Association for the last four years. She first came to Hampton Roads about 30 years ago when in the military.

She said she wants to focus on better preparing students who are not college bound for the workforce, enforcing student discipline and restoring full valedictorian and salutatorian recognition.

The results mean that the current 8-3 majority on the board will lose one spot in Edwards, but would still maintain a three-vote edge on most contentious issues.

Edwards said he planned to call Franklin later Wednesday to congratulate her and that he was taking the defeat in stride. After more than 20 years on the board, he said he is moving on.

Here are the results for the other four seats, with all precincts reporting unofficial results:

In the at-large race, in which two seats were up for grabs, School Board member Beverly Anderson had 92,047 votes and Victoria Manning had 87,065. Challengers Lauren Logan had 35,764, Matthias Paul Telkamp had 43,934 and Jeffrey Feld had 35,452.

In the Centerville District, incumbent Trenace Riggs had 98,334 votes, with challenger Luis Cortes recording 82,899 votes.

And in the final race, for the seat representing the Rose Hall District, incumbent Jessica L. Owens had garnered 101,536 votes, the most out of all candidates vying for a seat. Challenger Joanna L. Moran had 79,865 votes.

While Franklin said she was happy to win election, she called it bittersweet that she wouldn’t be joined by Cortes and Moran, the two challengers with which she and Manning had allied.

“That was really disappointing and hard for me to wrap my arms around,” she said.

Manning said the same — that she was happy she and Franklin won but disappointed that there wasn’t a clearer shift in power on the board. She said she hopes this election will provide a fresh start for the board.

“Hopefully we’ll have more unity on the board rather than the constant division,” she said.

Throughout the night, three of the challengers — Franklin, Moran and Cortes — jumped out to early leads, as the in-person votes were reported first. With Manning leading too, Edwards went to bed thinking the worst — that it would be a clean sweep for the new alliance.

But after midnight, when the majority of early ballots were reported, the races flipped — except for Edwards'. He was still losing.

Those votes tilted toward Democrats, which favored the Anderson, Riggs, Owens and Edwards camp, as each had been endorsed by the local Democrat party. Cortes and Moran, who were up for much of the night, were suddenly down by thousands of votes.

So when Edwards saw that he was the only incumbent to lose his spot, he said he realized nothing will fundamentally change for the board — or the direction the division is heading.

“I’m very pleased by that prospect,” he said.

Peter Coutu, 757-222-5124, peter.coutu@pilotonline.com

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