FREMONT — The only nonincumbent in the Fremont school board race to secure endorsements from all three of the district's nonmanagement employee groups also leads the race in both fundraising and campaign expenditures.
Bryan Gebhardt has amassed $29,032 to date and spent $26,228 — more than twice the $13,055 spent by the next candidate, Lily Mei, who has raised $26,323, according to the latest fundraising records.
The three remaining candidates — incumbent Ivy Wu and challengers Desrie Campbell and Ann Crosbie — have spent a combined $17,180, about two-thirds of what Gebhardt alone has spent.
Wu has not received money from anyone, but she did pad her wallet with a $20,000 loan to herself, of which she's spent $7,407.
Campbell, meanwhile, has collected $7,342 and spent $4,983, and Crosbie has raised $5,185 and spent $4,790. These figures do not include "nonmonetary contributions" the candidates have received.
Although this is Gebhardt's first bid for elected office, he's no stranger to politics.
In 2006, he was appointed to a 10-month term on the school board to fill a vacancy, and he's won the favor of a number of current and former local elected officials and unions.
Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman, City Council members Bill Harrison and Bob Wieckowski, and Ohlone College appointed trustee and council candidate Trisha Tahmasbi are among those who have contributed to Gebhardt's war chest. Former school board member Guy Emanuele and former state assemblyman and developer John Dutra also have given money.
But no individual or organization has given as much to Gebhardt as Janice Futch-Claridge of Milpitas, who works in real estate. She donated $10,000 to his campaign.
Gebhardt also has received $500 from the Fremont Police Officers Association and $2,500 from the Fremont teachers union. Although the teachers union has endorsed three candidates, it has given money only to Gebhardt.
Mei trails Gebhardt in the fundraising war, but not by much. Her donors include Ohlone College Trustee Garrett Yee, City Councilman Steve Cho, and council candidates Sue Chan and Vinnie Bacon.
Other Mei backers include Friends of Children with Special Needs board member Albert Wang and the Wisdom Culture and Education Organization, which gave $1,000. Mei also threw in $1,000 of her own money to her campaign.
Campbell, too, has friends in politics backing her. She received money from Dutra, the former assemblyman, and his wife — both of whom donated $1,000 — as well as from Teresa Cox, chairwoman of the city's economic development advisory commission and a candidate for the Ohlone College board.
Crosbie's contributors include a teacher and individual members in the community. She also received a $3,200 loan from her husband.
As for endorsements from the school district's employee groups, both the Fremont Unified District Teachers Association and Service Employees International Union Local 790 support Gebhardt, Mei and Wu.
The California School Employees Association, meanwhile, has endorsed Campbell, Gebhardt and Wu.