Democrat Mo Green is handily besting Republican Michele Morrow in total fundraising to date in the state’s race for superintendent of public instruction, according to recent campaign disclosures.

Green has $315,913 on hand compared to Morrow’s $58,265, which includes 48-hour reports for independent expenditures.

The race for state superintendent is likely to become heated headed into the summer and fall. Morrow pulled off a rare upset of a sitting incumbent member of the Council of State — the 10-member executive body that includes offices like governor, lieutenant governor, state auditor, and attorney general — when she bested Catherine Truitt in the Republican primary in March.

Morrow, a political newcomer, has come under fire from legacy media outlets for her political positions, past statements on social media, and presence during the January 6, 2021 breach of the US Capitol. Morrow has made issues like the Parents Bill of Rights and concerns about indoctrination in public schools a key part of her campaign, in addition to making the Department of Public Instruction run more efficiently.

“A large portion of Morrow’s financial backing comes from the Triangle area, with the most notable coming from leadership and affiliates with the Wake County GOP. This is likely due to her recent history as a member of leadership in the Wake GOP committee,” said Jim Stirling, a research fellow at the John Locke Foundation’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity.

Green, on the other hand, has a long pedigree with left-wing philanthropy and the education establishment. Green is the outgoing executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a role he served in from 2016 to 2023. The Reynolds Foundation is among the largest funders of left-wing groups in the state. Prior to that role, Green served seven years as superintendent of Guilford County Schools.

According to fundraising filings so far, Morrow has won the support of Republican donors such as CaptiveAire CEO and Thales Academy founder Bob Luddy, who made a last-minute gift that showed up in the 48-hour reports; real estate expert Jim Anthony; John Kane Jr., son of prominent Raleigh developer John Kane, and a former candidate for NCGOP chair; and public sector consultant Jim Womack.

Meanwhile, Green has secured donations from establishment and anti-school choice individuals like Gene Nichol of UNC-Chapel Hill, Kris Nordstrom of the NC Justice Center, and NC Association of Educators vice president Mark Jewell. Former governor Beverly Purdue, former state superintendent June Atkinson, and current congresswoman Kathy Manning have also contributed to his campaign.

“It appears that a lot of big name Democrats are getting interested in this race early and investing their dollars,” said Stirling. “Green has garnered the backing of heavy financial backers including Kathy Manning’s, who is one of the most financially well off members of Congress, giving $5,000 already to this race. Green has also received over $16,000 in direct financing from the Z. Smith Reynolds Board members. I would put money on many groups affiliated with the progressive philanthropic organization will be backing Green’s campaign.”

Among other notable donors to Green is Ken Eudy, a controversial former staffer from Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration who was part of an inside deal regarding Duke’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Eudy has given $2,500 so far to Green’s campaign, making him one of Green’s top donors to date.

Also of note, Green received funds from Pat Cotham, mother of Rep. Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg, whose party switch in 2023 gave Republicans a supermajority in the House. In March, Mecklenburg County Democrats ran Pat Cotham out of office as a commissioner after her daughter’s party switch.