Wenatchee School Board District 4 candidate Joe Cortez is dropping out of the race because of a pressing personal matter that he says will require the bulk of his time.  

Cortez’ departure leaves a two-way race between Miranda Skalisky and Kendra Martin for the seat to replace retiring school board member Laura Jaecks.  

A two-way race would normally send the contest directly to November's general election, but Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore says Cortez did not leave the race in time. 

“The last day to withdraw from the process officially would have been May 22nd, which is the Monday following filing week," said Moore. "He was still in the race as of that time, the 22nd of May. So, he's in there. He can say he's dropping out. He can say he doesn't wish for people to vote for him. But he will still be on the ballot." 

Cortez' name will still appear on the primary ballot voters will receive in about a month. 

There were four candidates for the District 4 seat before Quinton Martin withdrew from the race the day of the deadline three weeks ago. 

The district encompasses a major portion of south Wenatchee. 

A new arrangement divides four of the five Wenatchee districts into separate geographic areas and puts all five seats up for grabs this year.  

The School Board scrapped its at-large voting system after finding it may violate the Washington Voting Rights Act last year.  

It voted unanimously to make the change, although board members Katherine Thomas and Julie Norton later complained about having to run for reelection two years after winning their races in 2021.  

Norton is now running unopposed in District 1. Thomas declined to run for reelection this year. Thomas lives in what is now the geographically bound District 2 and would have faced fellow incumbent Maria Iñiguez. Iñiguez is being challenged by newcomer Randy Smith   

Voting in the primary begins July 14 and closes August 1st. 

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