San Francisco School Board Three Member Recall Campaign

The largest individual pro-recall donor to date is venture capitalist Arthur Rock, a charter school promoter who has donated nearly $400,000 to the effort.

Reminder questions are listed on the ballot as “measures,” a specific designation that allows unlimited fundraising and spending on their behalf. These rules have opened the door for pro-recall campaigns to spend far more than the traditionally small dollar contributions on school board races.

To put that into perspective: The 38 candidates who ran for the San Francisco school board in four elections, from 2016 to 2020, collectively spent $1.05 million — 60% less than the $1.75 million of dollars that pro-recall campaigns have spent so far on this election alone.

The biggest payout to date was $289,708 for Comcast, for running pro-recall ads on stations including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN and HGTV.

Expense records also show the pro-recall campaign’s focus on getting its message out to Chinese-speaking voters in San Francisco. The Concerned Parents committee spent $42,840 to run advertisements on the KTSF radio station, as well as $11,013 to buy print ads in the Sing Tao Daily and World Journal newspapers.

The main campaign opposing the recall received its largest donations from SEIU 1021 ($6,500), a union representing public sector workers, and the United Educators of San Francisco ($5,000), the teachers’ union from the city. Our Revolution, a political group aligned with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, also spent $5,000 to oppose the recall.

Lacking the resources to get their message out on the air, this campaign spent an estimated $27,213 on items including door hangers, window signs and mailers.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Moliga said he spent a total of $40,896 on his own separate campaign to save his job, largely to pay for campaign materials, mailings and printing.

The pro-recall campaign committees ended the reporting period, Jan. 29, with a total of $162,110 in hand, compared to $11,214 for the two anti-recall campaigns.

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