'Mr. D' reaches 'this apex' in Marysville school board race
Call it the reverse of the end of the movie "The Candidate" when the Bill McKay character played by Robert Redford wins a bruising election contest, wonders what follows his victory and asks, "What do we do now?"
A trustee for the Marysville Joint Unified School District is another world from the US Senate seat at stake in the 1972 film — and Anthony "Mr. D" Dannible, who leads by 73 votes in his challenge to school district Trustee Margie Markle, doesn't wonder what to do next.
Dannible acknowledges he didn't run much of a campaign. Another trustee says Dannible was called the phantom candidate for his low-key effort.
But Dannible said Wednesday he'll work hard to "take something great and make it just a little better."
"I am a destiny-fate believer," the 61-year-old said.
"For whatever reasons," Dannible added, "this has all come to this apex."
It's a last opportunity to have an impact on education, he said.
The New York-born Dannible spent almost 30 years in the funeral industry and mortuary science before working as a teacher for Marysville Joint Unified.
"I took it all on," he said of his new career. "Every school. Every grade."
Results are not final and 5,694 mail and provisional ballots were left to count by the Yuba County Elections Office. It was not none how many of those ballots included just the school district race.
In 2008, Dannible ran for the Marysville school board, was disappointed in the unsuccessful campaign he ran and said he spent the next four years running for the office — learning the system, he said. Dannible went to school board meetings at the district headquarters in Marysville.
But this September, he went to the East Coast for about a month because of family matters and returned here with only a couple of weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
"Some of my friends said maybe it's time to shake some hands and kiss some babies," Dannible recalled.
But that's not his style, not how he worked in mortuary science.
"We observe a lot," Dannible said. "We listen."
Steve White, president of the Marysville Unified Teachers Association, said it was Markle who campaigned for the trustee seat, while Dannible didn't.
"That might be the community sending a message to the school board," White said.
Dannible's success could spur more challengers in Marysville Joint Unified where three other incumbents faced no opposition.
"This might open the door to having more step forward and giving it a try," White said.
Trustee Frank Crawford, who won a seat in 2010, said the "Mr D" nickname Dannible used on the ballot may help explain the surprise success. Voters, faced with a long ballot, reached the school district race and some unfamiliar names and then saw the "Mr D" designation.
"It stands out," Crawford said. "That really rang."
Crawford said he is still shocked by the vote and heartbroken by Markle's second-place status. She taught his daughter in kindergarten, Crawford recalled.
White said Markle taught many of his students when they were in kindergarten.
"They remember her as being a wonderful teacher," White said. "She's a great lady."
Dannible, who spoke Wednesday from Denver where he said family matters required his presence, talked about his respect for the work trustees do. He said his election effort is no model for others.
"I don't suggest this kind of campaigning," Dannible said.
His focus is on the school board, he said. A City Council or county supervisor post holds no interest.
"I'm not looking," Dannible said, "for anything past this."