Atwater, Spearman lead in SC schools chief race

The Associated PressMay 27, 2014 

In the Republican race to be South Carolina’s next superintendent of education, Sally Atwater has out-fundraised the seven other candidates. However in the last 15 days of the primary race, Molly Spearman leads in individual contributions and cash on hand.

Pre-election disclosures filed Monday show Atwater, a special needs teacher and widow of the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater, has $37,200 still available after having spent $48,000 on two statewide TV ads. So far, Atwater has raised a total of $152,400, with $56,000 coming from contributions and $95,000 from a loan.

Spearman, director of the state Association of School Administrators, has more than $57,600 still available out of a total $128,500 in contributions raised so far.

Former deputy superintendent Meka Childs had nearly $39,100 on hand before joining the airwaves with the launch of her first statewide TV ad on Monday.

As for the cash on hand for the other Republican candidates, attorney Amy Cofield has over $12,100, Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly has just over $2,700 and math professor at the University of South Carolina Don Jordan has almost $1,800.

Two Republican candidates, Gary Burgess and Sheri Few, have yet to file pre-election disclosures as of Tuesday. State law requires candidates with a primary opponent to file a report by Monday, 15 days before the election, but a grace period essentially extends that deadline to Saturday.

Anti-Common Core activist Few had almost $17,600 available at the start of April while Anderson County School Board member Burgess had $2,000.

As of Tuesday, none of the four Democratic candidates for the post had filed pre-election disclosures.

Previous first-quarter filings showed former state Education Department director of school transformation Montrio Belton having the most money among Democrats with $29,250 available after taking out a $30,600 loan.

State Rep. Jerry Govan of Orangeburg likewise had self-financed the $19,680 he has available.

Former S.C. State University Dean Tom Thompson disclosed he has no cash on hand while former S.C. Education Association president Sheila Gallagher did not report her finances.

The primary is June 10.

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