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After Call For More Competition, Schools Race Down To 1

Phung, Johnson, Weingartner call it quits.

Despite calls from the sidelines for a more competitive election, the race to represent Southwest Minneapolis on the school board is down to one.

 track coach Curtis Johnson and Cargil lawyer Alex Phung both announced their withdrawals from the race Friday after no one candidate won the backing of the local branch of the DFL party. Lyndale Community School parent David Weingartner announced his withdrawl from the race late Sunday night.

"For personal reasons, I have decided not to run in the primary," Phung told Patch in an email. "I am very appreciative of all the support that I have received from family, friends, neighbors and other residents of our great city."

Weingartner, too, cited personal reasons.

"At this time I do not believe I have the personal time or resources available to run an effective campaign this summer," he wrote in an email to Patch. "While this decision means I will not be participating as a school board member, I will remain active in a targeted manner in creating a system of great schools."

Johnson also said he would stay involved in education issues.

"After thoughtful consideration and conversations with supporters and family," he wrote in an email to Patch, "I feel that I can be most effective advocating for change as an involved parent and concerned citizen."

Phung had been widely considered one of the two leading candidates in the race, alongside former teacher and Washburn parent Tracine Asberry. Both had racked up numerous endorsements from high-profile supporters—Phung from the local teachers' union, and Asberry from Mayor RT Rybak and Women Winning. Asberry commanded a lead  over Phung in balloting during the local DFL endorsing convention, but neither scored enough support to win outright.

With Friday's exits, only Asberry is left in the race.

 

and Lyndale Community School parent David Weingartner are left in the race, however as of Sunday evening, Weingarner had not yet filed to run. Weingertner told the Star-Tribune  last week that he plans to run.

Only a short while ago, education activists and a school board member had been calling for a more competitive race. In past years, candidates usually drop out following the local DFL endorsing convention. School board member and Lake Harriet Community School parent Rebecca Gagnon  suggesting such an outcome was anti-democratic, and did not serve the school district well.

Eli Kaplan June 05, 2012 at 02:53 AM
It is amazing that these candidates would even consider running prior to the convention and then for personal reasons decide not to run. They should have known that school board races takes time and sacrifices. It is more apparent that everyone was hoping for DFL endorsement so that they could just sit back and relax for the rest of the campaign. It certainly shows how flawed our system is and that the candidates are really an embarrasement to the district. In my opinion they really were not interested in helping kids or being a good school board representative because all of them were told it was a heavy committment and can take a lot of personal time. Personally I am ashamed of all those that withdrew and it really shows a lack of dedication to the office of school board.

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