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Mother of Parkland victim wins seat on Broward school board

Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy loomed large over contentious race

PARKLAND, Fla. – Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was killed in the Parkland school shooting, has won a seat on the Broward County School Board in a race that was dominated by the mass shooting.

Seventeen people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded when gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb 14.

Many of the candidates have argued the school district should have done more to prevent the shooting, noting that officials missed numerous warnings signs about Cruz.

With five of the nine seats up for grabs, the vote could create a new majority on the board and seal the fate of embattled Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runice.

Running in an open seat vacated by Abby Freedman, Alhadeff defeated Michael Joseph Kottler and Tennille Doe-Decoste, whose son’s best friend Joaquin Oliver, was killed. District 4 represents Parkland.

"In order for me to make change and make sure it happens I need to have a seat at the table and to have a vote," Alhadeff said. "I am so excited to have won, and to be the next school board member to be able to make sure what happened to my daughter doesn't have any other children and that we make our school safe in order for our children to receive a quality education."

School board Chairwoman Nora Rupert held off challenges from Hubert St. Clair and Mike Olbel in District 7, which includes Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Coconut Creek.

Former Stoneman Douglas teacher Richard Mendelson lost to incumbent board member Laurie Levinson in District 6, which includes Weston, Cooper City and Davie.

Ryan Petty, another parent of a Parkland victim, and 19-year-old Elijah Manley are running for an at-large seat held by Donna Korn. As of late Tuesday, Korn appeared to narrowly meet the threshold to avoid a run-off election.

Earning 36 percent of the vote, incumbent Ann Murray will face Jim Silvernale in a runoff election on Nov. 5 for the District 1 seat, which covers Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and Dania Beach. Natalia Garceau and Veronica Newmeyer were eliminated.