BR.sbdistrict7debate.092617.jpg

Belinda Davis fields a question Monday night at a debate in the Oct. 14 special election for East Baton Rouge Parish School Board District 7. To her left is fellow candidate Brian Adams and to her right is Mike Gaudet, who was appointed in January to fill the seat vacated by Barbara Freiberg. Monday's debate was held at Lee High and sponsored the group, South Louisiana Coalition For Education.

Incumbent Mike Gaudet has raised the most money so far in the Oct. 14 special election to replace Barbara Freiberg on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, but one of his opponents, Belinda Davis, is close behind.

Gaudet, a retired vice president of Albemarle, has raised $22,602 so far in the race for District 7, $10,000 of which is a loan to himself, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. Davis, an associate professor of public policy at LSU, has raised $20,320, $3,800 of which were contributions she made to her own campaign.

Both Gaudet and Davis have filed reports showing their activity through Sept. 24, as well as large contributions of $1,000 or more that they’ve received since.

Besides the loan to himself, Gaudet’s largest contributor is FuturePAC, a political action committee affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Gaudet also has received $1,000 apiece from CSRS Inc. and Art Favre, the president of Performance Contractors in Baton Rouge. CSRS has helped oversee work on hundredsof millions of dollars of school construction projects for the parish school system over the past two decades.

Gaudet has 20 contributors in all, including current School Board members Connie Bernard, who gave him $100, and David Tatman, who gave him $500.

Davis has 69 individual contributors, few of them businesses. James Lalumandier and

Tricia Sanchez are Davis’ biggest donors, both giving her $2,500 apiece. Lalumandier is a real estate agent in Baton Rouge. Sanchez, the daughter of Cajun Industries founder Lane Grigsby, spent several years as president of a family charitable foundation that supported education causes.

The third candidate in the race, Brian Adams, an administrator with Teach for has reported activity only through Sept. 4. He reports raising only $1,405. Adams is an administrator with Teach For America. The bulk of his money, $1,000, came from Leadership For Educational Equity, a politics-oriented spinoff or Teach For America. The same day he received that money, Adams paid the organization $1,000 for unspecified “campaign strategy.”

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier