There's no question this election cycle about conservative businessman Art Pope's direct financial involvement in the Wake County school board elections.
Campaign finance reports filed last week by school board candidate Donna Williams showed she had raised $22,456.33. That includes $4,000 from Pope, $4,000 from his wife and $4,000 from conservative businessman Bob Luddy.
Pope's role in the 2009 school board elections has been hotly debated. Pope has repeatedly pointed to how he only gave money to the Wake County Republican Party in 2009 and not to any individual school board candidates.
But Pope's critics have noted how his $15,015 donation to the Wake GOP was largely used for the school board races. They've also pointed to the 2009 e-mail message from Wake GOP official Marc Scruggs in which he said they had followed Pope's plan in the school board elections.
In this case, it may not be surprising that Pope gave money to Williams, who was the founding president of the Northern Wake Republican Club.
But the $12,100 from Art and Katherine Pope (which includes $4,100 to the Wake GOP) is still far below the $40.000 that Ann and John Campbell have given to Democratic-backed school board candidates and the Wake Citizens for Good Government PAC.
Williams' other donors include state Sen. Neal Hunt, state Rep. Marilyn Avila, Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble, Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley, school board member Deborah Prickett, school board candidate Heather Losurdo and former Wake GOP Chairman Claude Pope.