Rene Flowers wants Caprice Edmond to replace her on the Pinellas County School Board in District 7.
Flowers is stepping down to run for Pinellas County Commission. Edmond faces former St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse in the Nov. 3 General Election after the two secured places in a runoff election.
“Caprice will be able to continue in the path of expanding relationships between the community and the school district, she will work passionately with the Education Foundation to promote the programs that have shown promise and support for our scholars, she will come into the job ready to fully engage in constructive conversation on the first day,” Flowers said in a news release.
Edmond finish second in the Aug. 18 primary with 25% of the vote. Nurse earned 34% of the vote.
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 in the Primary Election, 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% White, 19% Black, 18% Hispanic and 5% Asian.
A Black School Board member has held the seat for well over a decade, with 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.
“I know her opponent , Karl Nurse, and I dare not take away from a number of positive things he has done as a former council member and in the business realm,” Flowers said in a news release. “However, I cannot boast about the need for diverse representation throughout the district in all other areas and not place the same assignment when it comes to representation on the legislative body that directs public education in Pinellas County.”
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.