Naty Severson has won a vacant seat on the Columbia Heights school board, beating out her opponent Hala Asamarai by 70 votes, according to unofficial results from Tuesday night's special election.
Pending board certification Thursday, Severson will take up a seat left empty by Lori Meyer in July. A second seat previously held by former board member Grant Nichols is up for election in the next few months.
A Facebook comment critical of Muslims that was attributed to Nichols launched concerns from the community in the fall. After weeks under fire and calls to step down, Nichols resigned from the board in October, still saying that someone else had posted the comment.
The Columbia Heights board has been operating with two empty seats since Nichols' resignation.
With one special election under its belt, the district is barreling into its second to fill Nichols' seat, starting with a candidate forum at its district center at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Candidates with their eyes on the seat include Asamarai, Tim Utz and Scott Bardell.
The special election primary is Feb. 9, and the election is April 5.