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Originally published August 6, 2013 at 9:40 PM | Page modified August 6, 2013 at 11:33 PM

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Dale Estey, Blanford ahead in Seattle School Board races

In Seattle School Board races, Suzanne Dale Estey and Sue Peters will advance in the District 4 race, and Stephan Blanford and LaCrese Green are ahead in District 5.

Seattle Times education reporter

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In this year’s closest race for Seattle School Board, Suzanne Dale Estey and Sue Peters were the leaders in Tuesday’s returns, setting up what likely will continue to be a hard-fought campaign between the two candidates.

Dale Estey, a government-relations and public-affairs consultant, had nearly 48 percent of the votes counted to date. Peters, a freelance writer and education activist, was second with 41 percent.

About 900 votes separated the two candidates in District 4, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia and part of Ballard.

Dean McColgan, was third with about 11 percent, and won’t advance to the general election.

Dale Estey said she had hoped to be the leader, and credited the hard work of her campaign staff and volunteers, who doorbelled about 4,000 households and called another 2,000.

Peters was thrilled with her strong showing, saying that her involvement in school issues over the past nine years puts her in a good position to win in November.

In District 5, which covers much of central Seattle and Capitol Hill, education consultant Stephan Blanford had a commanding lead with 78 percent of the vote, and will advance to the general. The question is, who will be second. LaCrese Green, a private tutor, was leading Tuesday with 13 percent, and Olu Thomas, an unemployed parent, had about 8 percent.

Incumbent Betty Patu, running unopposed in District 7, advanced to the general election automatically.

In the primary, School Board candidates run only in their districts. The two with the most votes advance to the general election, when voters citywide choose a winner in each race.

Once again, one issue in the campaigns is the performance of the board. Over the past 10 years, voters have swung between support for candidates later judged to be too hands-off, and those who are accused of being too hands-on, straying into micromanagement.

This year, the only incumbent running is Patu. Still, the candidates for the two open seats have been talking about how they would help the board members work more effectively with each other and with district staff.

This year’s races also are again attracting a lot of money. In addition to what the candidates are raising, an independent group called Great Seattle Schools has already spent about $35,000 on Dale Estey’s behalf.

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or On Twitter @LShawST

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