Longtime Mobile area educator Jackie Zeigler received the most votes in the race for the Alabama Board of Education District 1 seat on Tuesday and will face incumbent Matthew Brown in a runoff on April 12.
With more than 90,000 ballots cast in Tuesday’s Republican primary, Zeigler received 33,152 votes to Brown’s 23,744, with Chickasaw City Councilman Adam Bourne in third with 20,870 votes and Baldwin County realtor Carl Myrick with 12,349.
Zeigler won Baldwin County with 32 percent of the vote to Brown’s 29 percent and she won Mobile County with 41 percent. Bourne finished second in Mobile County, pulling in 26 percent to Brown’s third place 20 percent finish. Brown won Conecuh, Butler and Escambia counties, while Zeigler won Covington and Crenshaw counties.
Zeigler, who spent 37 years as an educator in the Mobile County school system, said winning 36 percent of the vote proves her message has resonated with people in the district.
“Repealing Common Core, along with a plan for its replacement with high quality Alabama standards remains my top priority,” Zeigler said. “Being a veteran educator with 37 years experience, having the free time to be available to meet with and listen to constituents, and stressing the need for a return of common sense has caught the attention of many people, and the approval of most.”
Zeigler, the wife of State Auditor Jim Zeigler, said she will continue to push for a strong educational foundation that will allow students and their families to choose the course best suited for them, be it college or career.
“For the next six weeks I will continue to get my message out, and will be available to meet with as many people as possible so I can fully understand their concerns and address any questions they have,” she said. “I believe that we must refocus on the vision for our board of education and let that vision lead the way. Not programs, not resources, not finances. The vision is the having best education available for the children of Alabama.”
Brown, an engineer in Baldwin County who was appointed to the seat by Gov. Robert Bentley last summer, said he is excited to have received enough votes to participate in the runoff and said his campaign team had already planned to be in this situation several weeks before Tuesday’s primary.
“The State Board race was a low-profile contest in the presidential primary,” Brown said. “Name ID always governs high-turnout primaries. The Zeigler family has been running for public office in Alabama for as long as most people can remember, while this is my first ever run for public office. We knew Ms. Zeigler would fare well due to her family name.
“Runoffs are much different and we believe that the advantage switches to our side in a runoff,” Brown continued. “We are right where we want to be.”
District 1 encompasses more than 110,000 students in 154 public schools located in Baldwin, Mobile, Conecuh, Butler, Covington, Crenshaw and Escambia counties. The district is also home to city school systems in Andalusia, Brewton, Chickasaw, Opp, Saraland and Satsuma.
The winner will face Democrat candidate Ron Davis in the general election on Nov. 8.
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