As a child, Camden Raynor was more excited about elections than Super Bowls.
His mother recalls him coloring little maps with red and blue.
Melanie Raynor always knew her son was interested in running for office, she just never expected it to happen so soon.
“It’s weird,” she said. “I don’t think it really hit me until the sample ballots went out for the primary. It was just a really kind of surreal feeling to see your son’s name on the ballot. But it’s also a lot of fun.”
Camden Raynor is a University of Maryland student and the youngest person on the general election ballot for the Frederick County Board of Education.
In June’s primary, he came in 7th of 13, with 9,172 votes, meaning he’ll advance to the general election since he cracked the top eight candidates. The candidates will compete for the board’s four open seats in November.
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“Being older doesn’t mean you’re wise. Wisdom doesn’t come with age, experience does,” the 20-year-old economics and history major said. He’s a senior by credits but plans to graduate in 2020, he said.
His campaign focuses on paying teachers competitively, especially when compared to other counties, and equitable school construction — making sure that older rural schools in the county get construction updates too, he said. He’s also pushing for the inclusion of arts in STEM education.
Raynor is one of four candidates in the race endorsed by the Frederick County Teachers Association. He and the other candidates have formed a slate to work together on a common platform. The group knocks on doors together, fundraises together and has jointed yard signs, he said. The slate includes Brad Young, Karen Yoho and Jay Mason.
Young, an incumbent who’s served on the board since 2010 and won 17.2 percent of the vote in the primary, says he hardly views Raynor as an opponent.
“It’s just been a pleasure to get to know him and see a young person that’s as sharp and energetic and interested as Camden running for the school board,” Young said.
Another member of the teachers association-endorsed slate, Karen Yoho, said Raynor is quickly dispelling concerns about his age.
“I’ve found him to be very good with words, I read all the candidates’ questionnaires when they are posted online, and possessing a wisdom beyond his years. Once people speak with him, they tend to forget their concerns about his being too young to hold a position on the Board of Ed,” she wrote in an email.
She added that she and Raynor have canvassed together, and she’s posted about “Canvassing with Camden and Karen” on her Facebook page.
“It’s much nicer to work closely with people you like and respect,” Yoho wrote.
Raynor spends about two to three days a week knocking on doors, he said. The campaign is “pretty much” run by Raynor, though his family and friends assist him, and he works with the slate.
Camden’s mother doubles as his campaign treasurer, keeping track of donations and expenses.
“It’s a little bit weird because if he were to be elected, he would be my boss,” Melanie Raynor said. “But I think part of the reason he was so interested in running was because he heard my husband and I both, as we would come home, and talk about just different things that happened within the school system.”
Raynor’s parents are both teachers in Frederick County.
“I’m very optimistic that I will win and I’m very confident about this. But I’m not arrogant enough to assume that I will,” Raynor said.