If campaign fundraising is any indication of a candidate’s strength, then incumbent Carolyn Campbell should have a commanding lead over challenger Jack Wu in the 4th District State Board of Education race.
According to her campaign finance report filed this week, Campbell raised $13,518 between July 27 and Oct. 25. She spent $12,101 during that period, mainly on advertising and printing.
Wu’s financial report shows he did not raise or spend any money on his campaign during that period.
Campbell is a Democrat who is running for a second term after first being elected in 2008. Before that, she served three terms on the Topeka USD 501 Board of Education.
Wu, a Republican, has not run for public office before. He is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, a congregation led by Fred Phelps Sr., who is known for strident protests against homosexuality and picketing the funerals of soldiers and AIDS victims.
Despite his lack of any traditional campaign operation, Wu has garnered news coverage during the race through his appearances at candidate forums, including one in Lawrence where he referred to evolution as “a lie from the devil” and said it should not be taught in public schools.
Campbell, who belongs to an African Methodist Episcopal church in Topeka, has said she supports the teaching of evolution and believes in the separation of church and state.
The issue of evolution is likely to come up next year when the state board considers adoption of a new science curriculum known as the Next Generation Science Standards.