A few years ago, in Wake County, N.C., Kevin Hill wanted to get involved in his community, so he ran for his local school board. The campaign team consisting of Hill and his wife, with the help of some friends, raised about $6,000; he won the seat in the 2007 election.
He’s hoping to retain that seat in a runoff election Tuesday, but this time his campaign is a little bigger. “[It went] from me and my wife to about 300 people,” Hill says. “It’s been mind-boggling to me that, for a school board race that is nonpartisan, the amounts of money that has been raised.” Those 300 volunteers, who manage phones banks and even a website, have raised a financial war chest of $42,000 to get him re-elected.
In fact, this year’s election has been the most expensive school board campaign ever in Wake County. It’s not just in North Carolina. All over the country, small-scale, local school board races are attracting big money and big media attention.
And there’s a huge and growing problem with American politics, folks. Even my high school had (very low) spending limits on campaigns for student offices. Are high school students smarter than most American adults? It’s starting to look that way. Let’s stop letting people buy elections at any and all levels of U.S. politics.