Stickney suspends school board campaign, endorses Winger

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Update (Sept. 22): This story has been updated to include a statement from Jessica Winger. 

Clifford Stickney suspended his campaign on Monday for the Dist. 3 seat on the Chatham County Board of Education and endorsed Jessica Winger. 

Stickney said he was "not able to provide the level of engagement and time our children and schools require," according to a statement on his campaign website

"I firmly believe our current District 3 board member must be replaced," he said. 

Del Turner is the incumbent Dist. 3 representative on the school board. Turner has been on the board since 2010. 

Her opponent, Jessica Winger has been a vocal proponent of an optional school masking policy and actively advocated for a return to in-person learning while CCS was in a hybrid or remote learning schedule.

"I am grateful to have Mr. Stickney's endorsement and I believe his passion to change the direction of the school board is sincere," Winger told the News + Record Thursday. She said she has spoken with several of Stickney's supporters since he suspended his campaign. 

Turner declined to comment on the decision. 

"[Stickney's supporters] have committed to stand with me because they know that the current school board is not acting in their best interest," Winger said.

While the school board race is nonpartisan, Winger has frequently made appearances with the Chatham County Republican Party. Turner has also frequently appeared with the Chatham County Democratic Party. 

"I will be one of the first people in line to vote for this change on November 8th and I encourage everyone reading this to vote for Ms. Winger," Stickney said. "I am encouraging all my [supporters] along with all the voters of Chatham County to support and vote for the best candidate for the job and not just along party lines."

Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached at brappaport@chathamnr.com or on Twitter @b_rappaport.

Jessica Winger, Del Turner, Clifford Stickney, Chatham County Board of Education, Elections 2022, school board

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