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Nick Melvoin at election night party.
Nick Melvoin at election night party. (Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Candidates backed by charter school supporters have won their first-ever majority on the Los Angeles Board of Education in elections held Tuesday.

In District 4, which stretches from the Westside to the west San Fernando Valley, challenger Nick Melvoin defeated school board President Steve Zimmer, who was supported by public service employee unions. 

Melvoin received 30,696 votes, 57.4%. Zimmer received 22,766 votes, 42.6%

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Kelly Gonez at election night gathering in San Fernando.
Kelly Gonez at election night gathering in San Fernando. (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Kelly Gonez was reluctant to claim victory prematurely Tuesday night in her bid to join the Los Angeles Board of Education, but from early on she held a small but solid lead over Imelda Padilla.

They were running to fill the seat in District 6, in the east San Fernando Valley, which opened up when incumbent Monica Ratliff chose not to seek reelection.

Gonez held her election night gathering at Magaly's Tamales and Mexican Grill in San Fernando, and the room erupted in applause when she arrived just after 9 p.m. She shook hands with supporters and hugged them as she moved across the room.

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Steve Zimmer votes.
Steve Zimmer votes. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Claudia Vizcarra has worked for Steve Zimmer for seven years, first as a policy director and now as chief of staff.

She didn't know when he walked into his election party around 9:30 p.m. that he was about to concede the election.

"It's hard," she said after Zimmer gave an impassioned speech to supporters calling his defeat a "devastating loss."

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Steve Zimmer votes.
Steve Zimmer votes. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Claudia Vizcarra has worked for Steve Zimmer for seven years, first as a policy director and now as chief of staff.

She didn't know when he walked into his election party around 9:30 p.m. that he was about to concede the election.

"It's hard," she said after Zimmer gave an impassioned speech to supporters calling his defeat a "devastating loss."

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Steve Zimmer embraces Anika Fernandez following an impassioned concession speech.
Steve Zimmer embraces Anika Fernandez following an impassioned concession speech. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. school board president Steve Zimmer stood in front of about 50 supporters at a Mar Vista restaurant just before 9:50 p.m. Tuesday and thanked his family, labor leaders who backed him and his district staff members for their hard work.

The two-term incumbent was conceding that he'd lost his reelection bid to challenger Nick Melvoin after more than $5.69 million had been spent against him. 

"I don't want any of you to think that this is because of you," Zimmer told his supporters. He thanked his wife especially, saying that love got him through this campaign.

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Steve Zimmer embraces Anika Fernandez following an impassioned concession speech.
Steve Zimmer embraces Anika Fernandez following an impassioned concession speech. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. school board president Steve Zimmer stood in front of about 50 supporters at a Mar Vista restaurant just before 9:50 p.m. Tuesday and thanked his family, labor leaders who backed him and his district staff members for their hard work.

The two-term incumbent was conceding that he'd lost his reelection bid to challenger Nick Melvoin after more than $5.69 million had been spent against him. 

"I don't want any of you to think that this is because of you," Zimmer told his supporters. He thanked his wife especially, saying that love got him through this campaign.

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At around 10:30 p.m., Nick Melvoin stood in front of a screen projecting election results and gave his first speech of the evening.

As he spoke, he was surrounded by cameras, and well-wishers yelled his name. Local TV reporters had come and gone, saying they planned to come back for a live shot later.

Melvoin's opponent for an L.A. school board seat in District 4, Steve Zimmer, had pretty much conceded that he'd lost the race -- though he hadn't called Melvoin to say so.

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At around 10:30 p.m., Nick Melvoin stood in front of a screen projecting election results and gave his first speech of the evening.

As he spoke, he was surrounded by cameras, and well-wishers yelled his name. Local TV reporters had come and gone, saying they planned to come back for a live shot later.

Melvoin's opponent for an L.A. school board seat in District 4, Steve Zimmer, had pretty much conceded that he'd lost the race -- though he hadn't called Melvoin to say so.

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When Nick Melvoin arrived at his victory party, he was swarmed by friends, family members, campaign workers. An independent documentary crew chronicling public education in California followed his every conversation.

Melvoin said he's been spending time since the primary knocking on doors, "knowing that we have to overcome some of these Trump accusations." What he meant was the efforts to connect him with Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

"This is not a Trump-leaning district, thank God," Melvoin said. He said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the early returns that gave him a 6,000-vote lead.