INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — School Board District 2 incumbent Jackie Rosario retained her seat Tuesday, thanks in part to heavy endorsements from conservspantive groups and Republican leaders.
Rosario defeated challenger Cindy Gibbs, a former teacher in the school district, in a runoff to win her second term.
Rosario received 55.3% of the vote, to Gibbs’ 44.63%, according to unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections Office.
Rosario could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Rosario — a former teacher, academic dean and assistant principal — was backed by the parents-rights advocacy group Moms for Liberty and Gov. Ron DeSantis. In contrast, Gibbs, who taught 13 years in district elementary schools, was endorsed by Democrat gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Charlie Crist.
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Nonpartisan school board elections are held in August during the primary. Because none of the four District 2 candidates received more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters went to a runoff Tuesday at the general election.
In August. Teri Barenborg won reelection to the District 4 seat. Newcomer Dr. Gene Posca won the District 1 election without opposition.
School board members are elected to four-year terms and are paid $37,70 annually.
Rosario appeared to be the frontrunner early, in August capturing almost 47% of the vote. Gibbs, in contrast, received about 26% of the vote in August. Rosario also raised more money — $56,773 compared to $31,776 raised by Gibbs.
Rosario’s donations translated in to more radio and print-campaign ads — each touting the endorsement from DeSantis — than Gibbs. Among Rosario’s donors were $3,000 from the Republican Executive Committee Indian River County, $1,000 from Tampa-based-Friends of Ron DeSantis and $250 from the parents-rights advocacy group Moms of Liberty Florida.
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School library books were a big issue during the campaign. In February, Rosario cast the vote against removing books from school libraries. More than 150 books had been were challenged by Moms for Liberty.