Politics & Government

April 10, 2014

Update: Republican Spearman tops fundraising race for superintendent

Updated campaign reports as of Friday morning show Republican Molly Spearman ahead in campaign fundraising out of 10 candidates running for state superintendent of education during the first three months of this year.

Updated campaign reports as of Friday morning show Republican Molly Spearman ahead in campaign fundraising out of 10 candidates running for state superintendent of education during the first three months of this year.

Spearman, whose report was unavailable late Thursday night, raised $90,521 from individual contributors. Spearman had $67,465 on hand available to spend as of March 31. Three others in the crowded 13-candidate field had not filed their campaign reports as of Friday morning.

Spearman, of Saluda, is executive director of the S.C. Association of School Administrators.

Spearman outraised Sally Atwater, the widow of legendary GOP operative Lee Atwater. Atwater raised $86,041 during the quarter, a total boosted by a $47,500 loan that she took out in February. Atwater, who has been endorsed by former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush, had $58,503 on hand.

Republican activist Sheri Few of Kershaw County came in third in fundraising in a campaign that features an American Party candidate, four Democrats and eight Republicans, all vying to become South Carolina’s top educator. The superintendent oversees about 1,200 schools, 51,000 teachers, 700,000 students and more than $2 billion in state money, according to the state Department of Education.

Few raised $56,337 during the first quarter, including $16,300 in personal loans that the anti-Common Core, pro-abstinence activist made to her campaign. Few had $24,059 on hand.

A second Democrat, Montrio Belton, had filed their campaign report with the State Ethics Commission by Friday morning.

Belton raised $40,632 during the period. He had $29,251 available on hand, which includes total loans of $30,608 from the election cycle.

Tom Thompson raised $3,680 during the period but spent all of it, leaving him with no money available. Thompson has held positions in higher education and worked for the state Department of Education.

Democratic candidates Sheila Gallagher and state Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, and American Party candidate Ed Murray had not filled out their campaign reports by Friday morning.

The deadline for filing was midnight Thursday.

Editor’s note: An original version of this story did not include contributions the candidates reported in initial disclosures filed before their April 10 quarterly reports. The figures have been corrected to show total money raised in the quarter.

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