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The final person to file campaign finance paperwork with the Hamilton County Election Commission for the May 3 school board primary tipped the scales in the election — partisan for the first time under a new state law — in favor of the Republicans.

The Times Free Press last updated the totals based on the filings available on the commission's website as of April 11, and according to that data, Democrats had out-raised Republicans $27,776 to $23,797.

Contributions to Republican Virginia Anne Manson, running for District 11, were filed late in the day on April 11 but not posted online by the commission until later. Including her contributions, Republicans outpaced their Democrat counterparts in campaign contributions — $52,712 to $28,157, according to a Times Free Press review of campaign finance forms filed with the commission.

With the May 3 primary less than a month away, the 22 school board candidates collectively raised more than $80,000, according to the reports.

Manson is running unopposed in the Republican primary. She reported raising just less than $33,000, the highest amount raised by any school board candidate so far.

Manson's donors include businessman Tom Decosimo, who ran unsuccessfully for school board in 2020, and a political action committee run by state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson.

Manson's competition, Democrat Jill Black, also running for District 11, was the second-highest fundraiser with about $15,000 in contributions. Donors include District 4 school board member Tiffanie Robinson and civic leader and philanthropist Olan Mills II.

Between Black and Manson, the race for the new District 11 seat has pulled the most contributions so far. Black's campaign manager, Elizabeth Baker, said that is due to the pressure to stay competitive.

"Candidates have to attempt to match their opponents in order to have a competitive race," Baker said.

Manson's campaign manager, Dalton Temple, said raising $30,000 isn't typical of a school board candidate.

"Then again, I do not believe Mrs. Manson is a normal candidate, and she is not done raising money," Temple said.

District 11, created in the recent redistricting process, is comprised of Alton Park, East Lake, Eastside, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Valley, Missionary Ridge, Montague Park and St. Elmo.

Uncontested Democrat Ben Connor, running for District 6, raised the third-highest amount, approximately $13,000. His donors also include Mills and Robinson.

Republican Gary Kuehn, running for the District 9 seat, raised just less than $8,000.

Other notable contributions:

District 3 (Uncontested)

Republican incumbent Joe Smith raised $2,345. Contributors include Hamilton County Circuit Court Clerk Larry Henry, school board member Tucker McClendon, the campaign of departing Sheriff Jim Hammond, Juvenile Court Clerk Gary Behler, former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, City Judge Russell Bean and former Chattanooga City Councilman Manuel Rico.

District 5 (Uncontested)

Democratic incumbent Karitsa Mosley Jones reported a balance on hand of $1,811.

District 6

Republican Delores Gross Vinson raised $1,703. Republican Jon Baker raised $2,208.

District 10

Republican Roddey Coe raised $5,096. Contributors included Committee to Elect [state Rep.] Esther Helton and state Rep. Greg Vital. Republican Faye Robinson raised $2,750.

Candidates Jenn Piroth (Democrat, District 3), Sandy Norris Smith (Democrat, District 8), James Walker (Republican incumbent, District 9), Patrick Lee (Republican, District 10), Jeff Crim (uncontested Democrat, District 10) and Christine Essex (independent, District 10) did not file campaign disclosures for the first quarter reporting period.

Candidates Charles Paty (Republican, District 5), Cindy Fain (Republican, District 6), Larry Grohn (Republican, District 8), Katie Perkins (Democrat, District 8), Tate Smith (Republican, District 9) and Steve McKinney (independent, District 11) raised less than $1,000 during the period.

Contact Carmen Nesbitt at cnesbitt@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @carmen_nesbitt.

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