Write-in candidate Erica Watts projected to win second available Roland-Story school board seat

Phillip Sitter
Ames Tribune

Official cross-county results are not yet available, but enough information is in for the Ames Tribune to call the write-in portion of Nov. 2's Roland-Story school board election for Erica Watts.

The sitting school board already made that announcement last week.

Matthew Dahlsten was the only candidate on the ballot for two available seats on the board, while Watts and Meghan McGonigal-Kenney had announced themselves as write-in candidates after the candidate filing deadline.

In Story County, according to official results, Dahlsten received 48.57% of the vote, Watts received 29.22% and McGonigal-Kenney received 16.68%.

Roland-Story's school board president, Marc Soderstrum, congratulated Dahlsten and Watts in a news release last week and said, "I look forward to working with my fellow board members as we move forward and ensure a top-quality educational experience for our students."

Previously:Here's what we know about who's running for the Roland-Story school board and their positions.

Dahlsten and Watts' terms on the board will begin in December, according to the release.

Roland-Story's school board election does span multiple counties, which is why full results will not be official until later Tuesday.

According to state law, while counties officially tally their election results on the first Monday or Tuesday after each election, city and school district elections that span more than one county require a second, combined tally on the second Monday or Tuesday after each election.

In addition to Story County, Roland-Story's school board election included voters in Boone, Hamilton and Hardin counties, though the write-in votes from those latter three counties combined only totaled 14, according to unofficial results from the Iowa Secretary of State's website.

While those unofficial results from the state do not break the write-in votes down by what individual candidates received, Watts had a 118 vote lead over McGonigal-Kenney in Story County, according to the county's official results.

Story County had a total of 432 write-in votes for Watts and McGonigal-Kenney combined. There were a further 52 write-in votes scattered among other Roland-Story school board candidates.

Previously:Roland-Story School Board seat will be held by write-ins winner after votes in 4 counties are counted

Watts was not immediately available Tuesday for comment. 

Dahlsten has said of his priorities that "The district should ensure they have the ability to attract and retain high-quality staff, facilities are sufficient to meet student needs, and resources are utilized in an efficient and effective manner. Story City and Roland are fantastic communities and I want the quality of our schools to be at the top of the list of reasons families stay here or want to move here."   

The same procedure for cross-county certification of results also applies to school board races in Ballard and Gilbert, among others, but according to unofficial results from the state, there were not enough votes from other counties to change the Story County-based outcomes of the races in Ballard and Gilbert.

For subscribers:Masks, equity issues, campaigns with money: 3 takeaways from Story County's school board races

Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at psitter@gannett.com. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.