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Cohen has wide lead in Lake Havasu Unified School District board race

November 8, 2018

Early ballot counts indicated a strong lead for incumbent Nichole Cohen in the race for the Lake Havasu Unified School District’s Governing Board, but votes were still being tallied as of Tuesday night.

Cohen led challenger Danny Pirtle Tuesday evening with 64 percent of the vote, maintaining 6,957 votes to Pirtle’s 3,861. By 10 p.m., however, none of Lake Havasu City’s voting precincts had yet reported a final count.

The incumbent has served on Havasu’s school board since 2014. A Havasu resident of more than 10 years, Cohen initially announced she would not seek reelection in 2018. When former school board member Alan Ward unexpectedly vacated his position on the board this year, however, Cohen announced her candidacy for the remaining two years of Ward’s term.

“It looks like the voters appreciate the hard work, transparency and solutions that are being explored, and are adamantly opposed to the Marxist/socialist overtones pushed by the $8 billion per-year education industry,” Cohen said Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to moving on to ‘classical’ curriculum.”

Pirtle, a lecturer of criminal justice at Arizona State University’s Havasu campus, has taught at a college level for nearly 15 years. Despite his relatively recent arrival in Havasu two years ago, Pirtle has remained active in community service, and saw a school board candidacy as an opportunity to continue serving Havasu residents.

Despite Cohen’s early lead, victory was not yet beyond Pirtle’s reach as of Tuesday night. Although early votes had been counted, voter turnout surged since the August Primary election. In August, about 33 percent of Mohave County residents took to the polls, according to the Mohave County Elections Office. Last night, voter turnout was almost 43 percent.

With tens of thousands of votes to count in Havasu alone, the race was not yet won by either candidate as of Tuesday evening.

Attempts to contact Pirtle by social media and telephone were unsuccessful as of this publication.

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