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California

L.A. school board races draw millions in outside spending

Los Angeles school board President Steve Zimmer.
Los Angeles school board President Steve Zimmer.
(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

Based on outside campaign spending, the school board is where the action is in the March 7 Los Angeles city election.

This is true even though there are 11 city contests, including races for mayor, city controller, city attorney and eight City Council seats — and just three seats up for grabs on the L.A. Board of Education.

The total outside spending in the city races as of Friday afternoon was $465,803. For the school board, it was $3,358,847.

Independent spending is when a group or political action committee chooses to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure. As long as the candidate or the candidate’s campaign plays no role in managing this spending, there are no limits.

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In the school board races, the largest spending was in District 4, covering the Westside and west San Fernando Valley, to defeat school board President Steve Zimmer ($1,256,121). Zimmer also was the single candidate with the most money spent on his behalf ($705,157).

Zimmer is in the unusual position of having critics who are backing two candidates against him. Nick Melvoin ($242,157) and Allison Holdorff Polhill ($183,415) both have benefited from allied independent campaigns on their behalf. Likewise, Zimmer supporters are running a campaign against each, totaling close to a combined $140,000, according to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, which collects campaign finance records.

In the city races, District 5 drew the most independent spending, with $154,054 in support of incumbent City Councilman Paul Koretz and $13,184 against him.

To read the article in Spanish, click here

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howard.blume@latimes.com

@howardblume


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