Three candidates for the Acalanes Union High School District Governing Board have pulled in more than $10,000 in campaign contributions, much of it from the insurrectionist wing of the Republican party.
Whatever your feelings about the SF school board recall election last February, it certainly benefited somewhat from support from a COVID-denying, anti-masker element, and had overlap with the Republican-led Recall Gavin Newsom campaign. And there is also clearly a trend that the right-wing outrage machine has identified of taking over local school boards as their new culture-war front, with an agenda to ban books and push batshit theories about litter boxes in schools.
That phenomenon has also landed here in the Bay Area. The Chronicle reports that one of candidates in November’s Acalanes Union High School District Governing Board has oddly received a contribution from Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who seems to have played a role in the January 6 insurrection (and lives 3,000 miles away from Acalanes High). Thomas’s contribution to candidate Mark Woolway’s campaign was only $250, but Woolway is part of a three-candidate slate that has raised more than $10,000, mostly from outside Contra Costa County.
“I think she donated $250 — $250 doesn’t go very far these days,” Woolway said in response at a recent candidate forum. The Chronicle describes Woolway as “a former PayPal executive who served on former President Donald Trump’s transition team.”
The Chron also notes that the three-person slate with whom Woolway is running got about half of its contributions from SF tech investor David Sacks, who dumped enormous sums of money into the Recall Chesa Boudin and Newsom recall campaigns. “About 83% of the Acalanes group’s campaign funds came from donors located outside the district,” paper adds, noting that school board races nationwide are being flooded with money from out-of-state conservative organizations.
“One New York political action committee, 1776 Project PAC, endorsed more than 100 school board candidates this year in Florida, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania — with 35 wins in August alone, Politico reported,” the Chronicle points out. “In Texas, a cell phone company called Patriot Mobile, whose owner says it’s driven by conservative Christian values, has been injecting huge amounts of cash into school board races with remarkable success.”
Woolway is part of a three-candidate slate that also includes Renee Nowac and Gabe Ledeen. They’re under the umbrella of the same campaign structure, and all have the same website — and they also seem to be aligned with another three-candidate slate in a Lafayette school district race. The policy section on that website describes no actual policies whatsoever, just horsehit platitudes about “strong leadership” and to “promote transparency.”
One of the candidates on the Lafayette slate, retired police officers Robb McSorley, has previously sounded off on Twitter about his disdain for trans athletes competing against others of their gender, and he railed against mask wearing (of course) back in May 2020.
Woolway told the Chronicle, “If the concern is that it’s a Republican movement, I’m not even a Republican,” despite his affiliation with the Trump administration.
Image: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wife and conservative activist Virginia Thomas while he waits to speak at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Clarence Thomas has now served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. He was nominated by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and is the second African-American to serve on the high court, following Justice Thurgood Marshall. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)