After a full day of counting, the Richland 2 School Board election results have been certified and a full slate of new trustees have been chosen to govern the largest school district in Richland County.
A recount of some 128,000 ballots cast in the race confirmed that local businessman Joe Trapp narrowly beat outgoing school board member Teresa Holmes.
Angela Nash, Niki Porter and Tamika Shuler Washington were also confirmed to have won places on the struggling school board, which was recently the subject of a scathing report from the Inspector General that said describes a pattern of dysfunctions and small conflicts.
The results were certified Saturday morning, according to acting Richland County Chief Electoral Officer Terry Graham.
“The totals haven’t changed,” Graham said. “It’s not going to the second round.”
After the recount, the four winning candidates obtained the following vote split: Angela Nash (14.07%), Tamika Shuler Washington (13.32%), Niki Porter (10.35%) and Joe Trapp (9.78 %).
WACH Fox reported that a recount was ordered on Friday because Trapp and Holmes were within the margin of error. The recount confirmed that Trapp had beaten the incumbent Holmes by just over 500 votes.
The new directors will step on a board that has been beset by infighting. Arguments and discussions at meetings have become common. At one point, school board members underwent conflict mediation in an attempt to resolve their differences. Public dysfunction grew to such an extent that in May Governor Henry McMaster ordered a formal inquiry into the district.
The report, which also drew attention to financial irregularities, found “non-existent communication and a lack of trust among board members”.
It described executive sessions that “turned into vulgar name-calling” and “were interrupted without doing their job.”
“Each Council member contributed to its dysfunction and ineffectiveness through petty disagreements and personal attacks from other Council members,” the report said.
This story was originally published November 12, 2022 4:18 p.m.