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Tom Benton has big fundraising lead in Wake County school board contest

Wake County school board member Tom Benton has well over a two-to-one fundraising lead over challenger Don McIntyre in the District 1 contest.

According to Benton’s latest campaign finance report, he reported raising $19,666.72 and spending $12,079.25 through Sept. 23. According to McIntyre’s latest campaign finance report, he reported raising $7,833 and spending $7,257.07.

Benton’s biggest donors in the latest report were $2,000 from the Wake Citizens for Good Government, $1,000 from former National Education Association executive director John Wilson and $1,000 from Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

Keith Sutton has raised nearly $20,000

Wake County school board member Keith Sutton has raised nearly $20,000 in his bid to keep the District 4 seat.

The new campaign report filed today shows Sutton having raised $19,892 as of Aug. 30 with $12,272.86 on hand. No report has been filed yet by opponent Venita Peyton.

Sutton's biggest individual donor in the new report is Capitol Broadcasting CEO Jim Goodmon, who gave $1,000. It's Goodmon's first recorded school board contribution this season, but he is one of the hosts for a Wake County Democratic Party fundraiser being held next week.

Wake Citizens for Good Government reports raising nearly $28,000

The Wake Citizens for Good Government PAC is looking like it could be a big player in this fall's Wake County school board elections.

As noted in today's article, the PAC has reported raising $27,803.28 with $25,671.54 on hand. In contrast, the Wake Schools Community Alliance has reported raising $268.92 an having only $1 on hand.

There's a strong connection between Wake Citizens for Good Government, the five Democratic school board candidates and the Wake County Democratic Party. A number of people are giving money to all three groups, similar to how some of the 2009 donors gave money to the four winning school board candidates, the WSCA and the Wake County Republican Party.

Gov. Perdue and other Democrats to attend Wake school board election fundraiser

Gov. Bev Perdue and several other Democratic Party leaders are scheduled to attend a Thursday fundraiser in Raleigh for a group that's hoping to wrest control of the Wake County school board away from the Republican majority.

The stated goal of the fundraiser for the Wake Citizens for Good Government PAC is to benefit Wake school board candidates "who support high quality public schools for all children." The PAC was formed in 2009 and unsuccessfully ran a television attack ad against Republican-backed school board candidates.

The PAC was formed by Dean Debnam, president of the Democratic-leaning polling firm of Public Policy Polling. PPP has recently conducted surveys on Wake school issues for what the firm says is a private client.

Rescheduling the school board meeting from Election Day

You can credit Wake County school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman for there not being a school board meeting today.

The board traditionally meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. But at Goldman's request, the board agreed to reschedule the Nov. 2 meeting to next Tuesday.

"I have other things that I like to do on Election Day such as vote, work at the polls, a few different things," Goldman said at the June 15 committee of the whole meeting. "We have quite a few board members who are very active so I can tell you right now I won't be here at that meeting."

Thomas Farr and allegations of black voter intimidation

Should Thomas Farr's role in allegedly discouraging African-American voters from showing up in the polls in the 1980s and 1990s impact his hiring by the new Wake County school board majority?

As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, a U.S. Justice Department complaint from 1992 said Farr “had been involved in past ballot security efforts on behalf of Senator (Jesse) Helms and/or the defendant North Carolina Republican Party…” Farr was not named a defendant in the complaint.

Justice Department officials under President George H.W. Bush said these measures were intended to intimidate thousands of African-American residents and discourage them from voting in a 1990 U.S. Senate election. Farr had been helping Helms in his reelection bid against former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, an African-American.

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