News

Madden staying on School Board

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

Two candidates for Federal Way School Board were waiting for further results from Tuesday’s general election before declaring victory, even though one of them, Tom Madden, seems a clear winner.

Grace Rawsthorne was leading incumbent Ed Barney by little more than 1 percent –– 162 votes –– in the District 1 race. Rawsthorne had 7,467 votes as of Wednesday night and Barney had 7,305.

If the margin holds or expands in remaining vote-counting, a recount won’t be mandatory. State law says a recount is required if less than 2,000 votes are cast and the difference between the candidates is one-half of one percent.

Rawsthorne said she was waiting for more absentee ballots to be counted to get a better idea of the race’s outcome. She spent election night at home, checking the results on the King County elections department Web site. At one point, she was ahead by one vote, she said.

Barney, who’s seeking a second four-year term, couldn’t be reached for comment.

The more contentious of the two board races was between Madden, the appointed incumbent, and Helen Stanwell. Madden had a healthy lead Wednesday night with 8,216 votes to 6,649, or 55.1 percent to 44.6 percent.

Madden said Wednesday he would withhold declaring victory until Stanwell conceded.

The Barney-Rawsthorne race was clean and without much controversy. When challengers of Madden in the September primary election raised questions about Barney, Madden and board member Evelyn Castellar having the same faith (Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Rawsthorne didn’t get involved in the controversy except during a candidate forum where she said the religious question wasn’t a campaign issue.

At candidate forums, Barney highlighted accomplishments during his time in office, including higher test scores and providing students with alternative courses such as automotive repair and construction.

Rawsthorne pointed to her time as a volunteer in schools and a PTA member.

Rawsthorne was endorsed by the local teachers union, the Federal Way Education Association, and received about $400 in campaign donations from the organization. The state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) is investigating a complaint filed against the union that it improperly used school district property to send a union newsletter that contained information supporting Rawsthorne. The candidate wasn’t named by the state as being part of the investigation.

Madden, appointed to the board earlier this year to replace the resigned Earl VanDorien Jr.,, said he wanted to continue as a mediator between other board members who have bickered with each other in the past.

He also promoted his work on developing a fund to pay student athletic fees by tapping district alumni.

Stanwell said she wanted to be on the board to return it to a level of professionalism she said it had lost. She also thought the board needed to spend more time making policy than getting involved in daily school district issues.

She also highlighted at a forum close to the election that a complaint had been filed with the PDC against Madden for failure to report campaign donations and expenses. Madden and his campaign treasurer said they were ignorant of what was required to be reported to the state and had corrected the errors.

Madden largely financed his campaign with his own money.

Madden is a longtime resident and graduate of the school district. He runs his own company out of his home as a consultant to corporations.

New election results will be posted by King County every business day except holidays until certification Nov. 29.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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