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Four State Schools Chiefs Win Re-Election

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Four state superintendents of education won re-election last week.

Winning contested races were Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, Wayne G. Sanstead of North Dakota, and--in a close race that could still hinge on absentee ballots--Judith Billings of Washington State.

Nancy Keenan of Montana was re-elected without opposition.

In a match between newcomers in Indiana, meanwhile, unofficial returns had Suellen Reed, the superintendent of the Rushville schools who was running as a Republican, beating out former State Rep. Stan Jones, a Democrat, to become the state's first female schools chief.

Ms. Reed garnered 51 percent of the vote to Mr. Jones's 47 percent. A third-party candidate drew 1.7 percent of the vote.

The outgoing superintendent, H. Dean Evans, and former Gov. Robert D. Orr stumped by plane for Ms. Reed, who was outspent by her opponent by a five-to-one margin, according to Joe DiLaura, a spokesman for the state education department.

Washington Drama

The nonpartisan vote for superintendent in Washington offered the most drama. Ms. Billings appeared to be the victor last week with a lead of 80,499 votes over her opponent, Terry Bergeson, a former president of the Washington Education Association.

Associated Press reports showed Ms. Billings with 851,697 votes, or 52 percent, to 771,198 votes, or 48 percent, for Ms. Bergeson.

Although Ms. Bergeson has conceded, 350,000 absentee ballots remained to be counted. Official results were not expected until Dec. 3.

Ms. Bergeson is a Seattle-area administrator who ran with the endorsement of the state Democratic Party. Despite her former union office, she is no longer a member of the W.E.A., which backed Ms. Billings.

The union's endorsement split the allegiances of its membership and may have contributed to the close vote statewide, said Carla Nuxoll, the president of the union.

In North Carolina, Mr. Etheridge, a Democrat, retained his job by beating back a challenge from Teena Little, a Republican member of the state board of education.

Mr. Etheridge received 54.5 percent of the vote to Ms. Little's 42.5 percent. Anna Lyon, who was running on the Libertarian Party ticket, received less than 3 percent of the vote.

In North Dakota, Superintendent Sanstead cruised to an easy victory over his independent challenger, Len Martin.

Mr. Sanstead, who was backed by the state Democratic Party, took 78.6 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial results provided by the secretary of state's office.

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