Eight local races, just one incumbent (so far) has filed
Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2022
With a week to go before the June 21 filing deadline, just one incumbent of the eight who serve on City Council and the School Board whose seats are up for election has committed to running for another term.
Longtime council member and Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett, who represents the Cypress Borough on council, is running for reelection and has an opponent, Wallace Johnson. Bennett has served on council since 1996, with a two-year gap from 2012 to 2014 after redistricting had moved him from the Nansemond Borough to the Cypress Borough.
The school board and council races up for election in November include the Cypress, Suffolk, Holy Neck and Chuckatuck boroughs.
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However, no other council or school board incumbent has yet filed to run in the Suffolk, Holy Neck or Chuckatuck boroughs, and no one has yet filed for the Cypress Borough board seat, currently held by Karen Jenkins, wife of state Del. Clinton Jenkins, D-Suffolk.
In Holy Neck, Tim Johnson currently represents the borough on council, while Lorita Mayo serves on the board.
Donald Goldberg is on council from the Suffolk Borough, while Tyron Riddick represents that borough on the board.
In Chuckatuck, Shelley Butler-Barlow was appointed to fill Mike Duman’s vacated seat when he was elected mayor in 2020, while its board representative, Sherri Story, told the Suffolk News-Herald earlier this year that she would not run for reelection. Story, Riddick, Jenkins and Mayo were all elected to the board in 2017.
Three candidates, as of now, will be on the ballot for her seat — former board member Linda Bouchard, Kim Slingluff and Karima Hopkins-Lockwood.
Just one other race, the Holy Neck Borough seat on the board, currently has a candidate on the ballot, Dr. DawnMarie Brittingham, who is listed on the faculty of Suffolk Christian Academy as a supervisor of student support.
Brittingham has so far raised $1,332 in campaign donations, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, while Slingluff has raised $1,000, Johnson $700 and Bouchard $100. Bennett has yet to raise any money for his campaign.
Brittingham was the apparent subject of criticism from School Board Chairwoman Dr. Judith Brooks-Buck at the June 9 board meeting, though not mentioned by name. Brooks-Buck started her comments by praising other positive comments by board members before addressing comments to critics of her and the board.
The board chairwoman, who has previously, and publicly, addressed what she believes have been lies or misinformation from speakers during public comments, or on social media, did so again Thursday.
She said those critical of the board, and people who have asked that a forensic audit be done on the school division’s budget, should note that “the perfect audit that we had seemed to fall in line with the way that (God) works.” Brittingham called for a forensic audit of the budget at the board’s Feb. 10 meeting, and Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III announced at the same meeting that the school division had received a perfect audit.
Brooks-Buck also referenced her most recent appearance in Suffolk Circuit Court, where a judge threw out a recall effort against her by the group Suffolk Citizens for Accountability.
“I went to court for the fourth time since 2020, and the judge let some people know that what they had said wasn’t true, and they kept right on saying it, and the reason that I’m bringing that up is because it needs to stop,” Brooks-Buck said. “Bullying, cyberbullying, needs to quit. The Facebook page for the Suffolkians for Accountability [sic], it needs to quit. There are lies on there that need to come down. Cyberbullying for grown folks is worse than cyberbullying for students, so if these are people who are supposed to be, supposed to be, adults who are lying and want to be recognized, they need to stop because they are very bad examples for children.
“One of them was back there this evening. She’s gone. Because when it comes down to telling the truth, they seem to disappear, dissipate. But the truth is they need to stop. There are people walking in different boroughs that need to stop doing the things they’re doing because even when the truth comes out, they continue with the foolishness, but it needs to stop because the truth is that when you can’t win a free and fair election, with whatever your platform is, you don’t need to bring it into our schools and cause dissension. You need to just stop.”
The general election is Nov. 8.
According to Suffolk general registrar Burdette Lawrence, here are the candidates, as of Monday afternoon, who have filed all the required candidate forms to appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
City Council – Chuckatuck Borough
City Council – Cypress Borough
City Council – Holy Neck Borough
City Council – Suffolk Borough
School Board – Chuckatuck Borough
School Board – Cypress Borough
School Board – Holy Neck Borough
Dr. DawnMarie Brittingham
School Board – Suffolk Borough