A lot of people have been talking about how important local elections are. No place is truer to that axiom right now than in Virginia—especially for our local School Boards, where our Governor is leading the charge on a full-scale assault of public education. Between banning books, targeting teachers with a “tip line” (then refusing to share any of the tips through FOIA requests), not implement transgender safety policies, attacks on ESL students, attempts to funnel money into “school choice” programs… you name it, they’ve been trying it.
This is why I am running for School Board in Chesapeake, VA — a school board currently comprised of 8 Republicans and just 1 Democrat. Our first campaign finance filing deadline just passed and I was eager to look through the reports to see where I stood compared to my opponent in the special election for a 2-year vacancy.
I have had 88 donations to my campaign for a total of just over $6,000 (an average donation of just under $70 each). My Republican opponent, Norman Pool, has had 2 donations for $5,200. As you can see in the header image, these two donations were from himself ($200) and his company ($5,000). It feels like these guys think they can just buy a school board seat!
This is how Republicans win local elections. They find rich old folks who just self-fund their way onto a seat while we scrape and scrimp to get enough money to pay for yard signs. I know my city is just one of many other localities that are struggling with this.
To prove that this isn’t an isolated incident, I looked through the campaign finance reports for all of the candidates in our local election. Three other Republican candidates (one for School Board and two for City Council) also donated or loaned large amounts from themselves (or their companies), one for $2,500 from his law firm (plus another $5,000 donation from a local businessman), one for $10,000 from his electric company, and one who loaned her own campaign $6,000.
However, I’m not discouraged by this. I knew it was going to be an uphill fight and I’d be competing against local old money and old power in a city that voted for Joe Biden in 2020 with a 6.5% margin of victory. But we need help. We don’t have rich friends. So we need *more* friends.
If this makes you as angry as it does me, consider chipping in? My ActBlue link is here. I even have a RedBubble store to sell merchandise (including this art donated from a local comic book artist, because we don’t have rich friends but we do have talented ones!).