Orange County School Board Chairwoman Anne Medenblik sailed to victory against parent advocate Laura Nicholson in Tuesday’s runoff election, earning 74 percent of the 2,301 votes cast.


Medenblik won all 16 precincts by at least 19 votes a piece.

She finished fourth in an eight-person race for four seats in the May 4 primary, but her 2,574 votes (12.16 percent) were not enough to pass the threshold. A hopeful must achieve more than the total number of votes divided by the number of candidates to avoid a runoff. She was just 62 votes shy of securing the seat in May.

Nicholson, who finished fifth with 2,507 votes (11.85 percent) wasn’t able to close the gap in the seven weeks in between election days. She serves as president of the Central Elementary PTSA and was hurt by a recent audit that found several problems with record keeping and spending.

Medenblik now joins incumbent Debbie Piscitelli, former Orange County budget director Donna Dean Coffey and former school board member Brenda Stephens in earning a four-year term on the board.

Orange County voters lent their support to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in the battle to face Richard Burr in the U.S. Senate race in November. She earned 67.3 percent of the 6,808 votes in Orange compared to 32.7 for Lexington lawyer and former state senator Cal Cunningham, who served as UNC’s student body president.

Marshall won Orange in May with 38 percent of the vote. Cunningham was second with 32.2. Marshall benefited from an endorsement of Chapel Hill resident and Durham lawyer Ken Lewis, who finished third in the statewide May primary.

Voter turnout today was lacking as expected in this midyear runoff election. In Orange only the Weaver Dairy satellite, the Carol Woods retirement home, crossed a 13 percent turnout as 69 percent of voters cast a ballot there. Overall, 7.7 percent of the county’s 90.693 registered voters participated today.