Powerful Dem and GOP Donors Go Blow for Blow in School Board Race

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District 3

Heather Losurdo (R)
Total funds raised – $40,244
Contributions of $50 or less – $4,210

*Kevin Hill (D)
Total funds raised – $24,055
Contributions of $50 or less – $2,120

Jennifer Mansfield (U)
Total funds raised – $5,802
Contributions of $50 or less – $696

Eric Wayne Squires (R)
Pledged to not exceed fundraising threshold of $1,000

District 4

*Keith Sutton (D)
Total funds raised – $22,272
Contributions of $50 or less – none reported

Venita Peyton (R)
Total funds raised – $730
Contributions of $50 or less – $80
**This is according to the last report Peyton filed. The most recent report due, is not on file for her campaign.

District 5

James Martin (D)
Total funds raised – $31,534
Contributions of $50 or less – $3,210

Cynthia Matson (R)
Total funds raised – $8,517
Contributions of $50 or less – $465

District 6

Christine Kushner (D)
Total funds raised – $50,406
Contributions of $50 or less – $6,123

Donna Williams (R)
Total funds raised – $41,370
Contributions of $50 or less – $4,879

Mary Ann Weathers
$1,000 threshold

George Morgan
$1,000 threshold

District 8

*Ron Margiotta (R)
Total funds raised – $52,748
Contributions of $50 or less – $3,033

Susan Evans (D)
Total funds raised – $37,524
Contributions of $50 or less – $4,401

CORRECTION APPENDED: Bob Luddy is the founder and chair of the board of directors for Thales Academy, not owner as originally reported.

Two couples have dominated the donations for this year’s school board race. Art and Katherine Pope have given $24,000 to various Republican campaigns, and John and Ann Campbell have given $32,000 to Democratic candidates.

Art Pope is widely considered to have been the most influential person in North Carolina politics in recent years, effecting everything from the state House and Senate races to the last Wake County school board election. A News and Observer records request turned up an email in which Pope was referred to as “the architect” of the neighborhood majority’s win in 2009.

Art Pope is the owner of Variety Wholesaler Inc. a retail chain, which operates various discount retail stores like Bargain Town, Value Mart and Super Dollar. The stores are often found in low-income areas.

John and Ann Campbell are the President and CEO of Campbell Alliance, a pharmaceutical consulting firm. Both are registered Democrats.

Art and Katherine Pope each gave the $4,000 limit to Donna Williams, Heather Losurdo and Ron Margiotta.

The Campbell’s did the same thing for all the opposing campaigns: Christine Kushner, Kevin Hill and Susan Evans. They also gave $4,000 each to Jim Martin who is running in a heavily Democratic district against Republican Cynthia Matson.

Other big players include Bob Luddy who gave $16,000 — $4,000 each to the Williams, Losurdo, Margiotta and Matson campaigns.

Luddy is a conservative businessman and the founder of Thales Academy, whose name is often mentioned with Pope’s. He was also one of the biggest donors in the 2009 campaigns.

On the Democratic side, James Goodmon, owner of local broadcast giant Capitol Broadcasting and WRAL, gave $2,000 to Kushner and Martin and $3,000 to Hill and Evans.

The only other key donor at the $1,000 level or higher is a neurosurgeon named James Fulgham. He gave $1,000 to Williams, $1,500 to Losurdo and $4,000 to Margiotta.

2 thoughts on “Powerful Dem and GOP Donors Go Blow for Blow in School Board Race

  1. This statement above is not accurate:

    “Luddy is … the owner of Thales Academy”

    Mr. Luddy is the founder and chairman of the board of directors of the Thales Academy. The schools are 501(c)3 non-profits and as such are “owned” by those they serve. Directors of Thales Academy, which include Mr. Luddy and me, receive no compensation of any kind for their efforts to provide North Carolina’s youth with a world-class education at around half the cost of Wake County government schools. With an annual tuition of $5,000, they are highly affordable by a wide cross-section of families in the Wake County area.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out. We appended a correction. Sorry for the mistake.

    Charles C. Duncan Pardo
    Editor
    Raleigh Public Record