Eric Davis, who's seeking re-election as the District 5 representative to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board, has the fund-raising lead by a long shot in the early financial reports that were due Friday. As of June 30, Davis reported he had raised just under $7,700, including $500 from former N.C. Board of Education Chairman Howard Haworth; $500 from John Belk, president of Belk Inc.; $250 from current state Board of Education member John Tate; and $500 each from Anna Nelson of the C.D. Spangler Foundation, co-chair of Project LIFT, and her husband Tom Nelson.
But it's definitely a different scenario this time, with five of six incumbents seeking re-election. Four years ago five of six elected incumbents had either decided not to run or resigned to become county commissioners, clearing the way for a five-member majority of newcomers to be elected.
Davis' D5 challenger, Edward Donaldson, is one of two candidates who filed statements saying they don't intend to raise or spend more than $1,000, which frees them from having to file additional reports. The other is Doug Wrona, one of three D6 candidates.
None of the other incumbents -- Rhonda Lennon in D1, Richard McElrath in D2, unchallenged Joyce Waddell in D3 and Tom Tate in D4 -- has filed a midyear finance report, an indicator that they hadn't started their fund-raising by June 30. McElrath and Tate haven't even filed organization papers to create a campaign committee.
Likewise, candidates Queen Elizabeth Thompson in D4 and Bolyn McClung in D6 have yet to file organizing reports. Paul Bailey, the third D6 candidate, reports giving his campaign a $500 start-up loan. Christine Mast in D1 reports having $160, including $100 from herself.
Longtime Elections Director Michael Dickerson says it's not unusual to see a slow start to school board campaigns. The nonpartisan race has no primary before the Nov. 5 election, and tends to be overshadowed by city races until the Sept. 10 primary is over.