Incumbent school board member Sheila Rowe will remain on the Board of Education after defeating challenger Dariel Daniel by more than 200 votes Tuesday.
Although Daniel had a lead in early voting with just over one-half of a percent, Tuesday’s turnout decidedly was for Rowe. She had a total 888 votes to Daniel’s 654, a 57.6 percent lead for the incumbent.
“I feel good,” Rowe said after the results Tuesday at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, where she and supporters had waited and celebrated. “I just appreciate the support of voters in District 3 and their faith in me.”
Daniel said he was “proud to find out how many people there were that believed in me and my ideas, unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”
“I doubt (that I’ll run again). I’m 64 and that’s a long way off,” Daniel said. “… It’s according to what the people want.”
The race between Rowe and Daniel was heated. Daniel had accused the board of wasteful spending and criticized incidents of violence and crime in schools.
In January, Daniel copied an email to LaGrange Daily News where he told fellow candidates Frank Barnes and Ashley Adams that “the more negative things people read about TCSS (Troup County School System), the better off we are,” which added fuel to the flame between the challengers and incumbents. Daniel also was active on social media, his website and in letters to the editor criticizing the current Board of Education and administrators.
Daniel’s taxes became a focus in the race in July after the group Citizens for the Future of Troup County spread fliers pointing out that Daniel had more than $14,000 in outstanding taxes when he qualified to run in May, which violates an affidavit to qualify. Rowe filed an ethics complaint earlier this month against Daniel for the outstanding taxes and failing to submit and pay fines for campaign disclosure reports to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. Daniel said the taxes were taken care of and he later submitted payments and amended contribution reports.
Daniel likewise brought up a that Rowe had tax lien and foreclosure on a building she owned with a business partner 10 years ago. Rowe said she had taken care of the 2002 tax issue before she qualified to run for office in 2004.
Last night, Rowe was ready to focus on the future.
“This was a tough race, but I’m ready to go,” Rowe said. “I’m ready to get back to work for the children of our county.”