Will Furry has bested opponent Courtney VandeBunte to win his first term on the Flagler School Board. Furry and VandeBunte both advanced out of an August primary election that also contained Lance Alred. Neither candidates were incumbents; the seat was vacated by Janet McDonald who left to run for County Commission.
Furry touted his conservative value set and endorsement from Governor Ron DeSantis in his campaign. He promoted a ‘back to the basics’ pitch, vowing to put into perspective social issues like race and LGBTQ+ matters from the schools. There was a palpable animosity between the Furry and VandeBunte campaigns in the final stretch of the election, with VandeBunte’s camp accusing Furry of running a mailer designed to impersonate her own campaign.
VandeBunte, meanwhile, appealed to voters with her record as a lifelong Flagler County resident and career educator. She battled accusations of being a radically left wing candidate, promising to uphold Governor DeSantis’s education policies while scarcely offering her own opinion on them.
Furry enjoyed strong support from conservative voters, while VandeBunte carried most Democrats and was tasked with dipping into Independent and moderate Republican votes to edge out opponent Furry. Unlike Sally Hunt, who campaigned closely alongside, VandeBunte did not reach the requisite 50.0% of the vote to win her election in the August primaries. Hunt beat incumbent Jill Woolbright narrowly, while VandeBunte and Furry advanced to a runoff election.
With Furry’s win, the School Board now holds an informal 3-2 left-leaning majority. While the races are nonpartisan, members Colleen Conklin, Cheryl Massaro, and incoming Sally Hunt are typically associated with the left side of the political spectrum, while incoming Furry and Christy Chong are associated with the right. Still, Board members are not formally associated with a party and informal left or right majorities are just that: informal.