Republican’s $ 125,000 sets first record in SC education race

Republican Ellen Weaver raises campaign donations as she runs to replace outgoing South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman.

Weaver, a school choice advocate and chair of the Education Oversight Committee, raised more than $ 125,000 in her first six weeks of racing, according to information provided to The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s official filing. .

That’s a record for this leg of an education superintendent’s race in South Carolina, Luke Byars, a veteran South Carolina GOP strategist consulting with Weaver’s campaign, told AP. The primary elections for the seat will take place in June and the general elections in November.

Weaver, 42, has served on the committee since 2016, a non-partisan group of politician appointees tasked with promulgating standards to improve South Carolina’s K-12 education system. She is the first woman to chair the group.

For over a decade, Weaver worked as an assistant to US Senator Jim DeMint, with whom she founded the Palmetto Promise Institute. Today, she is CEO of the Conservative think tank.

It supports school choice, an umbrella term for education strategies that give parents the ability to use public funds to enroll their children in schools, private or public, other than the one to which they are assigned. depending on their place of residence.

The Greenville native launched her campaign in November, vowing she would streamline the state’s education bureaucracy and prioritize financial transparency.

Spearman, who won her first term in 2014, said she would not run for a third term, wanting instead to devote more time to her family after 40 years of service as a teacher, lawmaker and head of the ‘education.

The announcement sparked a wide open race for the state’s highest education post, an election that is expected to garner a lot of attention amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic. During the last two years of the outbreak, Spearman was very visible as she struggled with how best to safely educate K-12 students in South Carolina.

The situation has at times forced Spearman to find himself in sticky spots with his fellow Republicans, including Governor Henry McMaster, over issues such as masking in schools. McMaster said parents should choose. But when cases began to increase before the current school year began, Spearman, supported by state health officials, said schools needed masks to help protect students and students. teachers.

Another Republican prospect, Lexington County educator Kizzi Staley Gibson, said he raised more than $ 5,000 in total in the past two fundraising quarters, according to online files.

Kathy Maness, a member of Lexington City Council and executive director of the Palmetto State Teachers Association, filed the first campaign documents and created a website, which does not mention her party affiliation. Maness is currently president of the National League of Cities, an advocacy group for thousands of municipalities.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at

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