With barely a week left before voters will narrow the field in the primary for the San Diego Unified school board, the moneyed race is between incumbent Katherine Nakamura and her rivals to represent the northeastern areas of the school district, including Serra Mesa, Tierrasanta and Scripps Ranch.

The candidate who raked in the most cash in that race is Stephen Rosen, a businessman who is trying to unseat Nakamura. He has received more than $97,000 since the beginning of January. But most of that money came from Rosen himself, who bankrolled his own campaign with a $90,000 loan. He is also the biggest spender in that race, shelling out more than $72,000.

Nakamura received $23,139 and a third candidate, middle school math teacher Kevin Beiser, brought in $15,140. That makes Nakamura the biggest fundraiser if you discount the loan Rosen gave himself.

She reaped $500 each from notable donors such as former Superintendent Alan Bersin, University of San Diego Center for Education Policy and Law director Scott Himelstein, the company run by businessman Rod Dammeyer, and the CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, Jay Hill.

But while Beiser brought in less money than Nakamura, his fundraising has picked up significantly in the past two months, while Nakamura has slowed down. He outraised Rosen if you don’t count Rosen’s loan. And he has outspent Nakamura so far this year, paying out $26,480 compared to Nakamura’s $20,653.

Compared to that, the race between school board member John de Beck and his challengers to represent the coastal stretches of La Jolla, Point Loma and downtown looks positively cheap. De Beck has raised roughly $15,000 this year — less than Beiser, the least flush candidate in the other race.

Budget consultant Scott Barnett has reaped less than $8,000 including a $1,000 loan to himself and nearly $4,000 in nonmonetary donations. His best known donors include the San Diego teachers union and its statewide affiliate, the California Teachers Association, and the local electrical workers union, which each gave him $500. That isn’t much for the teachers union, which was the big spender in the last school board election, but this is early in the race, which will ultimately be settled in November.

And just in case you were wondering, a third candidate facing Barnett and de Beck, Michelle Crisci, has pledged not to raise more than $1,000 on the election, exempting her from filing spending reports.


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