With three of the seven seats on the Madison School Board up for an election in 2019, Wednesday's filing deadline brought some new candidates into the mix. Each seat is contested and will include a primary election on Feb. 19 before the April 2 general election.
Candidates seeking a seat on the School Board had to file all of their paperwork to the City Clerk's office by 5 p.m. Wednesday to make it on the ballot. Officials are still in the process of verifying signatures for some candidates, but the list of people who have entered the race is now at ten. Several candidates announced their campaigns in the past week.
The Seat 3 race is set to usher in a new School Board member after Dean Loumos, the incumbent, announced last month that he would not seek re-election. Three candidates are running to be the new face of Seat 3.
Seat 4 is the most crowded race this year. James Howard currently holds the seat, though he is not seeking re-election this cycle. Four candidates are running to replace Howard. The race initially only included GSAFE Wisconsin co-executive director Ali Muldrow and former Dane County Supervisor David Blaska, but has since grown. Last week, local restaurateur Laila Borokhim and Albert Bryan announced they would run as well.
Howard has endorsed Muldrow for this seat. Bryan did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment on his campaign.
Seat 5 is the only race where the incumbent is running for re-election. TJ Mertz, who was first elected in 2013, is facing two challengers this year. Ananda Mirilli, who currently works as an education equity consultant at the Department of Public Instruction, will face not only Mertz but another challenger, Amos Roe, whose paperwork was filed with the Clerk on Wednesday.
Roe, a professional pianist as well as a piano and guitar teacher, said he decided to run for School Board several days ago, saying he offers "a clear alternative" to the other candidates vying for Seat 5.
A crowded race
Though each year is different in terms of the number of seats up for re-election, 2019 stands out as a crowded race in recent memory. When Seats 3, 4 and 5 were up in 2016, incumbents Loumos, Howard and Mertz each ran unopposed. In 2017, there were a total of six candidates running for two seats before the primary. In 2018, only one of two seats up for an election was contested.
The primary election is Feb. 19. The general election is April 2.