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Lexington Two school board race separated by 6 votes will require recount

Brookland-Cayce High School (copy)

Brookland-Cayce High School, one of the schools in Lexington School District Two. Provided.

LEXINGTON — A tight school board race will trigger a recount in the race for seats on the Lexington County School District Two Board.  

Incumbents Christina Rucker and Linda Alford-Wooten were clear winners in the four-way race for three seats in the Nov. 8 general election. Rucker earned just over 28 percent of the vote, and Alford-Wooten finished with 27 percent. 

Much narrower was the race for the third seat in Lexington Two, which serves students in Cayce and West Columbia. Candidate Kevin Key led Joseph Hightower by just 0.02 points, or six total votes when all votes were counted. Because that's less than 1 percent of the votes cast in this race, it automatically triggers a recount under South Carolina law.

The Lexington County Election Commission is in the process of recounting the votes, and will announce final results by Nov. 11, election officials said. 

Hightower seemed to have the seat narrowly secured after votes from all precincts were counted, but absentee ballots processed in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 gave Key the lift he needed to win the seat.  

"I was expecting a tight one," Key said. "But not that tight." 

Key, a Lexington County native, said an important issue, which played a prominent role in his campaign, is safety in schools. If the results hold up and Key joins the board, he said he would work to have a security officer overseeing every school in Lexington Two. 

Additionally, connecting students to their community would be a major theme in Key's work on the school board. 

"The community and the schools almost seem like (they) became separate," Key said. "We're trying to get kids to take pride in your school and the community take pride in (the students), and just get them to interact."

These efforts will include creating opportunities for high schoolers to learn about careers that don't require a college degree, Key said.

"A lot of kids, they're not made to go to college, and so I'm trying to get it where kids can step right out of school, right into a business right here in our district," Key said. "We have Spectrum, Nucor, Nephron — so many big companies right here that could tie into our schools."

Rucker and Hightower did not respond to requests for comment.

Click here for more news from Columbia, S.C.

Reach Leah Hincks at 843-830-2555. Follow her on Twitter @LeahHincks

Leah Hincks covers Lexington County for the Post and Courier in Columbia. She is a Massachusetts native who studied journalism at the University of Richmond, and spends her free time running and reading.

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