COLUMBIA- In the Republican race to be South Carolina's next superintendent of education, Sally Atwater has outspent and 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 that the 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 of 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.
While money is a strong indicator of support on the Republican side, it isn't for the largely self-funded Democratic primary. As of Tuesday none of the four candidates have filed pre-election disclosures.
Previous first quarter filings showed former 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 South Carolina State University Dean Tom Thompson disclosed he has no cash on hand while former South Carolina Education Association president Sheila Gallagher did not report her finances.
The primaries are June 10.