As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, Rao said his $100 donation to the WSCA was based on a misreading of their true intent: electing school board candidates opposed to using diversity as a factor in student assignment. Rao has been criticizing the school board's elimination of the diversity policy as part of his campaign.
Nichols is now one of Rao's Democratic running mates for commissioner.
In addition, the campaign report listing the donation gives Rao's occupation as “lawyer,” when in fact he has a law degree, but has not passed a bar examination. Rao said he couldn’t explain the mistaken listing and noted that he doesn’t describe himself as an attorney in campaign literature or elsewhere.
Rao is the founder and CEO of the sports management and coaching company TSG Academies.
Despite living in Wake County since 2000, Rao never cast a ballot until the general election of 2008.
“I just was traveling so much, and didn’t get really involved in politics until then,” Rao said.
Rao is running against Republican incumbent Tony Gurley. While Gurley has been somewhat cool lately to the Republican majority on the school board, he says he supports neighborhood schools. Gurley gave $2,000 to the WSCA last year.