Two 4J board candidates supported in controversial emails take lead

Two of the three candidates have taken the lead so far on election night.

Posted: May 18, 2021 9:06 PM
Updated: May 18, 2021 11:36 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Two of three 4J school board candidates supported in controversial political emails are taking the lead on election night.

Concerns were raised after Sheila Waggoner, president of local classified union Oregon School Employees Association Eugene Chapter 1, sent out emails to classified district staff regarding the election. The email list includes half of the staff in the district.

The emails supported Laural O’Rourke who is running against Harry Sanger, Maya Rabasa who is running against Dakota James Boulette and Tom Di Liberto who is running against Judy Newman and Bryan Costa. 

There are very few marginalized people on the board," O'Rourke said. "I think it's really important to have lived the experience and understanding on the board. I already work really hard for those who don't have a voice."

So far on election night, O’Rourke is far in the lead with 82% of the vote and Rabasa has taken 85% of the vote. Di Liberto is in close second with 42% of the vote to Newman’s 51%.

Votes are still being counted in Lane County, and results are not yet final.

MORE: POLITICAL EMAILS SENT BY 4J EMPLOYEE STIR CONTROVERSY AS ELECTION DAY NEARS

Chief of Staff Kerry Delf said the emails were sent during the work day using the district’s email addresses.

“Public employees may not participate in political activity on work time or using public resources,” Delf said. “That is a standard. That is the law. It's the district's policy, and it's something that staff are reminded of periodically.”

According to the district, this was reported to the secretary of state office’s Elections Division.

Eugene School District 4J asked Waggoner to retract her emails and send an apology, which she did.

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