Incumbent, newcomer win Palm Beach County School Board races

Marcia Andrews retains District 6 seat, while attorney Edwin Ferguson wins District 7 election
Palm Beach County School Board members Marcia Andrews and Edwin Ferguson, Nov. 11, 2022.jpg
Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 18:10:47-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A new face will take the open seat on the Palm Beach County School Board and a longtime board member will hold onto her seat.

Marcia Andrews' win in District 6 gave three incumbents a clean sweep across the board during this year's election season.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Decision 2022 | Education

Days after winning re-election, Andrews on Friday did what she loves, visiting schools, attending a Veterans Day event at Western Pines Middle School.

"To get the validation and support from the parents and the community means so much to me," Andrews said.

In Tuesday's election, Andrews came away with 57% of the vote over challenger Jennifer Showalter, a parental rights advocate and frequent critic of the Palm Beach County School Board, who collected 43%.

Andrews joins two other board members, Karen Brill in District 3 and Erica Whitfield in District 4, who both won re-election during the August primary and also overcame challengers who emerged from the parental rights movement.

"I think it gives us all confidence that we’re doing a good job," Andrews said. "We can always do better and we’re always looking for input from our community, our parents, our schools."

"It was not relief. It was excitement at the prospect of being the next board member entrusted with the opportunity to help improve this public school system for all of our kids," said Edwin Ferguson, who won the open seat in District 7 to represent the Riviera Beach area after Dr. Debra Robinson decided not to run again.

Ferguson is an attorney, a dad, and husband to ESPN 106.3 sports anchor Keli Ferguson. He said he's looking forward to collaborating with the other board members.

"Willingness to listen, willingness to try new things and improve on the things we have been doing for the betterment of our children. That’s all I'm really here for," Ferguson said.

Now that it's official, Ferguson plans to start visiting schools to see how he can make a difference.

"I'll be in Riviera Beach speaking with all the principals of the elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in the city to let them know I support them in what they need to help strengthen and improve the school system for the kids in Riviera Beach," Ferguson said.

Ferguson will be sworn in on Nov. 22.

As for Andrews' challenger, Showalter, she said she is not conceding the race and is raising questions about the integrity of the results.

In a news release to WPTV, Showalter said that "many" local conservative voters who had requested mail-in ballots from the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office never received them.

"That could be considered voter suppression," Showalter said.

Showalter also alleged there were reports of voter harassment "mainly to conservatives" at numerous early voting sites. In one case on Election Day, Showalter said "there was an incident of such magnitude that a lawyer was called to the scene."

"A disturbing number of voters have also indicated that they were intimidated to not vote or vote for certain incumbents in order to maintain their jobs," Showalter said. "That would be considered voter intimidation and needs to be investigated immediately."

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link on Friday responded to Showalter's allegations, telling WPTV there were no reports of voter harassment at any early voting sites and no reports of voter intimidation on Election Day.

Link said there were voters who did not receive a ballot, but those residents were either sent a new one or could pick one up.

Link added she has not personally heard from Showalter about these issues.