Spearman leads SC schools chief race in fund raising

ccope@thestate.comJuly 10, 2014 

  • Superintendent of education candidates

    Ed Murray, American Party

    Age: 57

    Residence: West Columbia

    Occupation: Athletics director and assistant principal at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School

    Education: Bachelor’s degree, California State University, Sacramento; master’s, University of Texas at Arlington; master’s, National University

    Molly Spearman, Republican Party

    Age: 60

    Residence: Saluda

    Occupation: Director, S.C. Association of School Administrators; former teacher and school administrator

    Education: Bachelor’s degree, Lander University; master’s, George Washington University; education specialist’s degree, University of South Carolina

    Tom Thompson, Democratic Party

    Age: 64

    Residence: Forest Acres

    Occupation: Doctoral specialization coordinator, Walden University

    Education: Bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, the University of Illinois

The Republican nominee for superintendent of education raised more money and has more available to spend than the two opponents she will face in November.

Molly Spearman had raised $222,375 through June 30, including $40,000 that she borrowed between the GOP primary and runoff.

However, Spearman has spent the majority of that money, ending June with only $9,935 on hand to spend.

“I’m hoping that we won’t have to spend as much in this general election cycle,” Spearman said.

It was costly to compete against seven other Republican candidates in the GOP primary and the two-candidate runoff, said Spearman of Saluda. However, some of those expenses, for items such as signs, were for items that can be used again leading up to the general election, she said.

Spearman still has more money available than her opponents.

Democratic nominee Tom Thompson had about $445 left to spend at the end of June.

Thompson raised $20,585, including about $5,780 of his own money during the election cycle. He collected the majority of his contributions, $16,905, from April through June.

Thompson of Forest Acres said he plans to aggressively raise more money before the November election.

But, he added, “Our strategy is not to outspend Molly.”

American Party candidate Ed Murray of West Columbia has raised $2,483 for the election cycle. About $700 of that money was donated; the rest was his own money.

Murray said he has not raised as much money as the other candidates because he did not face a primary challenge. He had about $1,290 available to spend at the end of June.

The third-party candidate said he faces challenges in raising money and campaigning, noting, unlike Spearman and Thompson, he does not have county party organizations to reach out to for help.

“We’ve got to create some whole new dynamics in the course of the next 31/2 months to do what we need to do,” Murray said.

Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.

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