COLUMBIA - The head of a teachers association leads in fundraising in the race for state Superintendent of Education, according to campaign reports.
Molly Spearman has raised a total of $90,521 between January and March, from individual contributors. The report includes more than 200 contributors listed as educators. Spearman, a Saluda resident, is the executive director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.
Spearman's totals came in Friday morning, knocking Sally Atwater off the lead she held Thursday night in fundraising. Atwater raised $86,041, but that includes $47,500 from a loan she took out when she announced she was running for the seat in February. Atwater, of Charleston, announced earlier this year, she was stepping down from being a special education teacher in Walterboro to pursue her candidacy for the race. The widow of famed South Carolina GOP political strategist Lee Atwater received a high-profile endorsement in March, when Former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush announced they supported her.
Common Core opponent Sheri Few came in third, raising $56,337. Of that amount, $16,300 was the result of personal loans.
Few, of Lugoff, has been involved with trying to get Common Core repealed from South Carolina's standards for more than a year. She is the president of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, a group that is opposed to the standards.
Five others are vying for the Republican nomination, including Gary Burgess, Charmeka Childs, Amy Cofield, Don Jordan and Elizabeth Moffly, of Charleston.
Moffly, a Charleston County School Board member, raised $11,726, which includes $7,851 in loans.
Burgess has raised $7,675, which includes him giving his campaign an $3,500 loan.
Childs, endorsed by her former boss, current Education Superintendent Mick Zais, has raised $18,541.
Jordan has raised $4,470 and Cofield has raised $28,101.
Meanwhile, Montrio Belton, one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, raised $40,632. Belton, a former teacher and principal, has lent himself $30,000. Thomas Thompson is the second Democrat to have filed first quarter finance information, with $3,680 in personal funds. The reports of Sheila Gallagher and Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg were not available.
Cynthia Roldan can be reached at 708-5891.