Danielle and Stephen Lindemuth are outspoken proponents of the false claim that widespread voter fraud in last fall’s election robbed former President Donald Trump of a second term. They have spread misinformation related to COVID-19 on social media and repeatedly criticized their daughter’s school for covering race-related topics in class.
And as of Tuesday night, they appear likely to walk away as two of four Republicans to earn their party’s nomination for a spot on the Elizabethtown Area school board.
The Mount Joy Township couple, as well as incumbent Jim Read and candidate James Emery, will go up against the Democratic slate of school board candidates, who ran uncontested in the primary, in November.
The Lindemuths, who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., and have shared misinformation on social media about vaccines and face masks, are running on a socially and fiscally conservative platform that is “pro-education” and “anti-indoctrination,” according to a campaign flyer.
It’s unclear what they mean by indoctrination. However, the Lindemuths have complained numerous times to the school board and administration about the public school curriculum, which can include conversations surrounding racism, as well as race-related signage on the classroom walls.
Stephen Lindemuth told LNP | LancasterOnline on Tuesday night that people want to see a return to “traditional American values” in schools, and they want politics taken out of the classroom.
“We want education to stick to teaching the basics,” he said, adding, “We want to see boys use the boys’ bathrooms and girls use the girls’ restrooms. I don’t think there’s anything radical about that opinion. I think that’s just common sense to most people.”
Meanwhile, Elizabethtown Democrats Kristy Moore, Jagger Gilleland and Sarah Zahn say they’re focused on protecting neighborhood schools, as the current school board is considering closing two of the district’s elementary schools.
Moore was “a little surprised” by the results, she said Tuesday night.
“Myself and Sarah and Jagger put a lot of time and effort into going out and speaking directly with our neighbors,” she said. “There was such a clear choice.”
Nevertheless, Moore said they’re looking forward to continuing the race into November.
The primary comes at a peculiar time for school boards, many of which are facing pressure from some conservative groups to lift the requirement for students, vaccinated or not, to wear masks. Doing so, however, would go against guidance from the Pennsylvania departments of health and education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic later this year, school board candidates may have tough decisions to make regarding masks and other health protocols.
The votes counted as of press time Tuesday night showed the following results in the Republican primary:
Kristy Moore: 832
Stephen T. Lindemuth: 1,945
James C. Emery: 1,925
Jim Read: 1,908
Danielle D. Lindemuth: 1,901
Jagger Gilliland: 360
Sarah Zahn: 716
Manheim Twp. S.D.
In Manheim Township, which has flipped mostly Democrat in recent years, Michael Landis, Kim Romano, Kyle Hunt and Erin Hoffman appear to have handily won the Republican nominations.
Current school board President Nikki Rivera, Vice President Joyce Stephens and newcomers Terrance Henderson and Adam Hosey look to have beat out Teddy Vasquez and incumbent John Smith for the Democratic nominations. That means Smith, a board member since 2017, is likely the first incumbent in the race to fall.
The results could change for both parties as mail-in ballots are counted in the coming days.
The results as of 11 p.m. Tuesday night were:
Nikki Rivera*: 1,747
Joyce Stephens*: 1,536
Teddy M. Vasquez: 815
Adam Hosey: 1,129
Terrance Henderson: 1,256
John R. Smith*: 494
John R. Smith*: 741
Nikki Rivera*: 745
Kim Romano: 2,796
Michael Landis: 3,058
Teddy M. Vasquez: 271
Terrance Henderson: 368
Adam Hosey: 387
Kyle Hunt: 2,665
Erin Hoffman: 2,659
Joyce Stephens*: 610
(* indicates incumbent; candidates in school board races frequently cross-file)