There are limits on how much teacher groups like the Georgia Association of Educators and the American Federation of Teachers can spend on their candidate for state school superintendent, Democrat Valarie Wilson.
Wilson, former chairwoman of the school board in Decatur, has raised about five times as much as Republican superintendent nominee, Richard Woods, a former teacher and administrator. That money advantage doesn’t guarantee success in a state that has been a Republican stronghold for a decade.
Under state law, individuals, businesses and groups can contribute about $16,000 directly to candidates, including money for primary runoffs.The Georgia Federation of Teachers contributed $9,300 to Wilson. The American Federation of Teachers gave $2,000, and the Georgia Association of Educators $6,300, according to disclosure records.
But Wilson is also benefiting from money contributed to Better Georgia and then used for advertising and phone calls on the candidate’s behalf.
Like a lot of groups with a point of view, Better Georgia is registered as an “independent committee,” meaning it doesn’t have to disclose all its donors.
However, the group has disclosed getting $134,000 this year from the Georgia Association of Educators and $70,000 from the American Federation of Teachers. In turn, the group reported spending about $204,000 on media buys and phone calls to support Wilson.
GAE most recently sank $70,000 into the Wilson campaign, through Better Georgia, last week.
Combined with the Better Georgia money, Wilson will have had about $475,000 for her campaign against Woods, who reported raising about $56,000 as of Oct. 25.
Better Georgia has also spent a good bit on ads against Deal, the group’s usual target.