Wake County school board campaign cash drops sharply

Posted by T. Keung Hui on March 14, 2014 

Campaign spending was way down for last fall’s Wake County school board elections compared to the heated races in 2011.

The eight school board candidates raised a combined $126,117 last year. In 2011, the candidates raised more than $470,000 in a race where control of the state’s largest school system was up in the air.

All the winning candidates – the three Democrats and Republican Bill Fletcher – significantly outraised their GOP-backed opponents.

In District 1, incumbent board member Tom Benton led the field with $25,118.85 raised. Don McIntyre collected $8,623.

In District 2, new board member Monika Johnson Hostler raised $20,791.15. Matt Scruggs raised $8,644.89.

In District 7, new board member Zora Felton raised $20,746.04. Incumbent board member Deborah Prickett raised $8,021.63.

In District 9, incumbent board member Bill Fletcher raised $22,572.16. Nancy Caggia raised $11.599.49.

There wasn’t much in the way of big donations in the new reports compared to the reports filed before the election. Some interesting donations for Benton include $1,000 from Democratic pollster Dean Debnam, $250 from school board chairwoman Christine Kushner and $200 from Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen.

Overall, the biggest donor in the campaign, just as in 2011, was Ann Campbell. She gave a total of $10,000 to the four winning candidates. In 2011, Campbell gave $22,000 to the five winning Democratic-backed candidates, not including money she gave to groups who also helped those candidates win.

In addition to the drop in money raised by candidates, there was also far less spending from third-party groups. The fact that Democrats would retain the board majority no matter the outcome seems to have dulled the interest in the election as more people focused instead on the school bond fight.

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