By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Nov. 2 — After an unsuccessful write-in campaign last November, Megan Gordon took a 3-to-1 margin of victory at the polls on Tuesday over Jason Scott Breeden, the incumbent chair of the Page County School Board.
Gordon captured 74 percent of the ballots with 6,157 votes — compared to Breeden’s 2,082 votes (25 percent). There were 77 write-in votes cast in the race for school board chair. Vote totals do not include one category of absentee ballots and provisional ballots, which will be added once the election results are certified in the coming days.
“I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m excited,” Gordon said from her home Tuesday night. “I’m excited and nervous at the same time, but I look forward to serving…I’m getting on the board because I have an interest in serving the families of the county, and I’m going to do everything I can to serve at my best in that role…everyone’s not going to agree, but everyone…faculty, staff, administrators…are all acting in the best interest of the students to ensure they get the best possible education they can get.”
Gordon serves as program director of Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA) and has worked with the school system for several years through PACA programs. She also previously worked in the division’s central office as deputy clerk for the school board for several years. Gordon believes these experiences, along with being a parent of three students educated in local schools, allows her to bring “a lot of different perspectives” to the school board.
“I think I bring the ability to build relationships,” she said Tuesday night. “I want to continue to foster and build relationships, and I think the different roles and the different involvement I’ve had with the schools in this county will help me with that.”
However, Gordon says that she does not plan to micro-manage departments and trusts administrators to carry out the day-to-day duties of the division.
“I think the role of chairman is to facilitate…administrators get into making everything happen. They are the ones we should be taking the lead from,” Gordon said. “I’m going to wait and see what’s needed, but I see that position as one of a facilitator.”
To see more on why Gordon ran for the school board and what she would like to change about the division, see the Q&A that PVN published Sept. 23.
Breeden was appointed chairman by the school board in the summer of 2020 to replace James “Jim” Grimley through Dec. 31, 2020. The November 2020 special election carried that appointment through the remainder of Grimley’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2021. The current election is for a four-year term extending through Dec. 31, 2025.
In November 2020, Breeden received 7,202 votes, or 72.3 percent of the ballots cast for chairman of the Page County School Board, while write-in candidates received a total of 2,762 votes, or 27.7 percent. (Voter turnout was up due to the presidential election.)
As expected, this November Gordon saw tremendous support in the southern end of the county where she resides. However, the margins were fairly consistent throughout the county.
Here’s a breakdown of the votes cast on Election Day in the school board chair race by magisterial district:
• District 1 (W. Luray) — Gordon 686 (71%), Breeden 268 (28%)
• District 2 (E. Luray) — Gordon 849 (73%), Breeden 305 (26%)
• District 3 (Marksville) — Gordon 1,079 (74%), Breeden 364 (25%)
• District 4 (Newport) — Gordon 890 (81%), Breeden 212 (19%)
• District 5 (Shenandoah) — Gordon 1,100 (76%), Breeden 338 (23%)
Page County supported the Republican ticket down the line as GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin drew 79 percent of the votes, lieutenant governor candidate Winsome Sears drew 78.5 percent and attorney general candidate Jason Miyares received 77.9 percent of the ballots. Statewide counts went well into the night Tuesday and may not be confirmed for a few days.
Fifteen-year Republican incumbent and current House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert captured the highest margin on the Page County ballot, receiving 80 percent of the votes (7,603 — most votes of any race) compared to Democratic challenger Emily Scott’s 20 percent (1,896).
Six other local races were unopposed:
• Keith Weakley, a member of the Page County Planning Commission, received 7,473 votes to become the next chairman of the Page County Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Morgan Phenix stated early on that he had no intentions of running past his one four-year term as chair, a position he took from Johnny Woodward in 2017.
• Keith Guzy received 1,390 votes and remains the District 1 representative on the board of supervisors after first earning the seat in 2013. This will be his third, four-year term.
• Jeff Vaughan received 1,544 votes and remains the District 5 representative on the board of supervisors after serving two non-consecutive four-year terms, which he was elected to in 2009 and 2017.
• Tommy Lansberry received 1,448 votes and returns for a second four-year term as District 1 representative on the Page County School Board after first being elected in 2017 in a two-way race.
• Jackie Sullivan-Smoot received 1,519 votes in District 5 and returns for a fourth four-year term as the longest-serving member of the school board.
• Stephanie Lilliard received 1,410 votes in a special election for the Luray Council to fill the remainder of a four-year term previously held by Mayor Jerry Dofflemyer. In February, the Luray Council appointed Lilliard to fill the council seat vacated by Dofflemyer through Dec. 31, 2021. The special election on Nov. 2 will fill the seat through the remainder of Dofflemyer’s term, which extends through Dec. 31, 2022. Dofflemyer vacated the council seat when he was sworn-in as mayor in January.
With 16,760 registered voters in Page County, voter turnout for the 2021 general election was nearly 58 percent. In the last gubernatorial election four years ago, less than 45 percent of registered voters in the county cast their ballots.
When early voting closed on Saturday, a total of 2,054 ballots had been cast in person since Sept. 17, according to Page County Voter Registrar Carol Gaunt, with another 531 ballots already mailed in. As of Saturday, 115 requests for mail-in ballots had not been returned to the registrar’s office.
The 2,585 ballots that were cast early represent 15.4 percent of the 16,760 registered voters in Page County and about 27 percent of the total votes cast in the general election.
Unofficial Page County Results
~ NOV. 2, 2021 ELECTION ~
• Glenn Youngkin (R) — 7,585 (79%)
• Terry McAuliffe (D) — 1,990 (20.7%)
• Princess Blanding (L) — 28 (0.3%)
• Winsome Sears (R) — 7,471 (78.5%)
• Hala Ayala (D) — 2,040 (21.4%)
• Jason Miyares (R) — 7,417 (77.9%)
• Mark Herring (D) — 2,101 (22.1%)
Virginia House of Delegates – 15th District
• C. Todd Gilbert (R) — 7,603 (80%)
• Emily G. Scott (D) — 1,896 (20%)
Page County Board of Supervisors
• Chairman — Keith P. Weakley (R), unopposed — 7,473 (97.7%)
• District 1 — D. Keith Guzy Jr. (R), unopposed — 1,390 (95.7%)
• District 5 — Jeffrey P. “Jeff” Vaughan (R), unopposed — 1,544 (97.7%)
Page County School Board
• Megan L. Gordon (I) — 6,157 (74%)
•Jason Scott Breeden (I) — 2,082 (25%)
• District 1 — Thomas “Tommy” Lansberry (I), unopposed — 1,448 (97%)
• District 5 — Jackie A. Sullivan-Smoot (I), unopposed — 1,519 (97.4%)
Luray Council (special election)
• Stephanie L. Lillard (I), unopposed — 1,410 (96.8%)