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Seven candidates seeking four school board seats

With less than a month until elections, more hats have been thrown in the ring for a seat on the Newton Community School District Board of Education.

The latest person to come forward is United Way of Jasper County Director Travis Padget, who announced his candidacy on his Facebook page last week.

“After much deliberation, I decided to throw my name into the running for a seat on the School Board,” Padget wrote. “It would be quite an honor to give back to the schools that prepared me so well for a future of learning and to have a hand in guiding the education of our future.”

As of press time, the post had received 200 likes and close to 50 comments.

Former school board member and legal counsel for the City of Newton Darrin T. Hamilton also launched a write-in campaign.

Hamilton previously served from 2009 to 2011, and his campaign also was launched via Facebook. The only direct comment on the “Darrin T. Hamilton for Newton Community School Board” page is that he “is willing to serve if elected.”

The last known write-in campaign is that of Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Wendel. Wendel attended the Aug. 12 school board meeting and also was present at the Aug. 5 public hearing the district held, when he spoke against Walt Smith’s plan for the former Maytag home/district office.

Current Board President Andy Elbert is seeking re-election, as is board member Sherri Benson. Both Don Poynter and Dennis Combs have declined to seek re-election, and former board member Joe Klingensmith also is seeking a seat.

There are currently four open seats on the school board, and counting write-in candidates, seven people seeking those spots.

School board elections take place on Sept. 10.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at