| Fort Myers News-Press
2020: Election Day in Florida
Here’s a look in Florida as of Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
Chris Patricca won the District 3 runoff election for the Lee County school board.
The incumbent won with 37,281, or 55.06%, of the votes in Tuesday’s general election, with her challenger, Jacqueline Perez, trailing with 30,424, or 44.94%, of the votes.
The seat represents residents of Estero, Bonita Springs and the western portion of south Fort Myers. School board races are nonpartisan. Each board member makes an annual salary of $40,500.
Patricca, 50, will take the oath of office again on Nov. 17, prior to a school board meeting.
Winning her re-election bid comes with a slice of relief and “much exhaustion” from the campaign trail, and she thanked her supporters for putting their faith in her for the next four years.
“The voters, I think, saw what I’ve done over the past four years and saw my vision for the next four years,” Patricca said.
She raised more than $70,900 in donations. With the exception of $95 labeled as an in-kind donation for email services, every penny came from her supporters.
She said it wasn’t uncommon for $1,500 worth of donations to be mailed in a single day.
Patricca rang in the night with a small group of family and close friends at her Estero home, where cheers and applause could be heard in the background as news stations called the election in her favor.
Previous coverage for District 3: Incumbent Patricca faces Perez
And for District 2: Incumbent Giovannelli faces McCullers
That excitement is carrying her into her next term of office, where she hopes to see the district “seize the lessons” learned from the various learning models offered to families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her focus: “How can we revolutionize education in a sustainable way to really make education better for kids?”
“That to me is really exciting,” Patricca added.
Aside from serving on the board, Patricca is an adjunct law professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, serves on the board of directors for the Florida High School Athletic Association and is president-elect of the Florida School Boards Association.
Her opponent, Perez, 54, did not return phone calls Tuesday evening, but shared a text message with The News-Press.
She thanked her supporters for their work on the campaign, including her children, husband and neighbors.
“We fought a good fight, but the fight is not over,” Perez wrote. “Those who know me well know I have Plan B in place. I will never give up fighting for my community, the children and against corruption.”
Losing her bid for office “fuels” her to work harder.
“Your love and support has inspired me to continue to advocate for our students and employees at the district,” she wrote.
Perez shares a marble business with her husband, and has made a name for herself as an advocate for students, parents and employees.
She loaned $28,200 to her campaign and raised over $20,270 in other donations.
Patricca and Perez carried the most votes during the primary election, with Patricca taking in 12,530 or 39.04%, of the votes, while Perez earned 9,964 votes, or 31.04%.
A third candidate, Brian DeGrazio, came in third. He threw his support behind Perez after the primary.