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Candidate Garner-Williams get union support, Avant gets business support

Warren Cox, a poll worker for Shante Avant, returns to the sidewalk after asking for the vote of a man waiting at a stoplight on the first day of early voting.
Warren Cox, a poll worker for Shante Avant, returns to the sidewalk after asking for the vote of a man waiting at a stoplight on the first day of early voting.

School board candidate Shante Avant has raised more than $19,000. Candidate Freda Garner-Williams gave herself a $1,000 loan while also being backed by a local union. That’s all according to financial disclosure forms posted by the Shelby County Election Commission Friday.

Early voting for this year’s hotly-contested school board race opened Friday. Election day will take place Aug. 7.

District 6 incumbent Shante Avant raised $19,200 between April and June. Of that total, $14,400 was given by members of the local business community. The Memphis Chamber of Commerce’s JOBS PAC gave $2,500 and business leaders who are members of the chamber gave another $11,900. Avant shared 12 of the same donors who supported District 1 incumbent Chris Caldwell and District 9 candidate Roshun Austin.

“I have had contact with various sectors and not just the business sectors that have given to my campaign,” Avant said. “And that is because I have a long history of work in this community specifically in the betterment of women and children.”

Caldwell’s challenger Freda Garner-Williams raised $6,404, according to her filing. More than $2,000 of that came from donations by the Service Employees International Union and another $1,000 came from a loan she took out herself.Another $1,000 came from Karen Pease, the CEO of Well Child, who also donated $1,000 to Avant. The Shelby County Schools board recently approved a $1.7 million contract from Well Child to provide school nurses.Garner-Williams has spent more than $5,000, the most of any candidate so far, leaving her with less than $2,000 in the bank. She also raised more than $2,000 in contributions from donors who contributed $100 or less, which is the largest amount from small donors of any candidate so far.

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