Broad's Billion dollar Babies rack up early fundraising leads in LA Unified school board race
The lineup for this spring’s race for three seats on the Los Angeles Unified School Board was all but set on Wednesday, with 15 candidates filing to put their names on the March 7 primary ballot.
The race will pit at least two political heavyweights — teachers unions and charter school advocates — against each other, both in individual races and in a broader debate over the future of the nation's second-largest school district.
Even at this early stage, this year's candidates have raised nearly $400,000 in contributions — driven largely by two candidates allied with charter school interests: incumbent Mónica García and challenger Nick Melvoin.
If recent history is any indication, these early contributions will likely be joined by millions of dollars in expenditures by outside political action groups on advertising or consultants. In regular L.A. Unified elections since 2011, these "independent expenditures" have far surpassed contributions to individual candidates' campaigns.
Still, this year's candidates have banked almost twice as much in campaign contributions as they had by this stage of the race four years ago, when these three seats were last up for grabs.
As of Sept. 30, the most recent campaign finance reporting deadline, García had raised more than $132,000. García will face a challenge from Roosevelt High School teacher Lisa Alva in her bid to retain her seat in District Two, which spans much of central and east L.A.
Activist Carl Petersen, attorney Miho Murai and school council boardmember Manny Aldana also filed to add their names to the list of candidates in District Two.
Melvoin hopes to oust incumbent board president Steve Zimmer from his seat, Charter school allies rack up early fundraising leads in LA Unified school board race | 89.3 KPCC: