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.
Democrats have tried to rally their base against the changes made by the Republican school board majority, including the elimination of the use of socioeconomic diversity in student assignment.
Perdue has frequently made negative remarks about the Wake school board, including during a January meeting with the Greensboro News & Record's editorial board and during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, who also criticized the school board majority during that January MLK Day event, is among the sponsors for Thursday's fundraiser.
Other sponsors of Thursday's fundraiser include Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson, U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, U.S. Rep. Brad Miller. U.S. Rep David Price, State Treasurer Janet Cowell, State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. State Sen. Dan Blue, State Rep. Rosa Gill. State Rep. Grier Martin. State Rep. Deborah Ross. State Sen. Josh Stein, State Rep. Jennifer Weiss and Raleigh Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin.
Five of the nine school board seats are on this fall's ballot. GOP chairman Ron Margiotta and Democrats Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton have said they plan to run. Democrats Carolyn Morrison and Anne McLaurin, who is also Meeker's wife, have not said if they'll run.
With the school board still working on redistricting of boundaries for board seats, challengers to the incumbents haven't publicly announced yet. School board candidates in Wake run by district and not countywide.
Republicans hold a 5-4 majority on the school board. But the coalition has been shaken at times by the defection of GOP vice chairwoman Debra Goldman on several issues.