Pinellas County is one step closer to an all-white School Board.
Primary candidates Karl Nurse and Caprice Edmond will be carrying their campaigns into November for a chance at the Pinellas County School Board District 7 seat.
In Tuesday’s primary, Nurse received 33.98% of the vote and Edmond got 25.05%, leading to a runoff election because neither candidate earned more than 50%.
Edmond shared a brief statement via Facebook on her advancement to the General Election.
“Thank you all for your support,” she wrote. “If it was not for you we would not be moving forward to the General Election in November.”
For a down-ballot race, the District 7 contest was arguably the most controversial race in Pinellas County this cycle.
The seat was contested by four candidates, including Corey Givens Jr. and Sharon Jackson.
Nurse, who led the race in fundraising and earned an endorsement from the Tampa Bay Times, drew criticism from local leaders for running in the county’s only reliable minority district.
Nurse is the only White candidate in the race, which has been the board’s only minority seat for years. It is the only single-member district with more than 10% Black voters — District 4 has just 3% Black voters, District 6 just 4% and District 5 10%. District 7 has 20%.
Pinellas County Schools are made up of a student population that is 54.1% White, 18.9% Black, 17.7% Hispanic and 4.6% Asian.
A Black School Board member has held the seat for well over a decade, with Rene Flowers occupying the seat since 2012, Lew Williams before her and Mary Brown before him. Brown was the first African American elected to the School Board, a milestone the Black community didn’t achieve until 2002.
The seat opened after Flowers stepped down to run for the Pinellas County Commission.
Nurse, a former St. Petersburg City Council member, raised the most of the four candidates — $50,345; however, $40,000 of that came from Nurse himself. He also spent the most, at $31,197.
Edmond raised $32,057, and spent $27,478. Edmond is an educator in Pinellas County and has been endorsed by local community leaders, including the SEIU. Nurse came under fire for misleading campaign flyers implying the SEIU supported him.
Givens, also a Pinellas County educator, and Jackson, who has played the role of teacher, counselor, principal and professor, raised $16,658 and $7,670, respectively. Both candidates kept spending under $10,000.