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Campaign Consultants Win — Either Way

LA School Report | February 21, 2013

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While no one yet knows who will ultimately win the three contested School Board races, there are already some big winners among campaign consultants (who get paid no matter what).

As you can see below, big money has been flowing out from independent expenditure committees and campaigns to consultants who specialize in mailers, TV ads, and field work — as well as pollsters who tell the campaigns how they’re doing.

Meanwhile, there’s more money coming in all the time. Yesterday, Michelle Rhee announced a $250,000 contribution to the Coalition.  Union sources tell LA School Report that the two state teachers unions and the American Federation of Teachers will announce contributions to UTLA-PACE today or tomorrow.

 Of the $2.3 million that has already been spent on the three races in the six weeks since early January,  Shallman Communications has gotten more than $450,000 from UTLA for mailers (several of them negative ads targeting the current School Board President Monica Garcia in downtown’s District 2, and Kate Anderson, running on the Westside in District 4).

On the reform side, the Coalition for School Reform has paid Ace Smith and Sean Clegg’s SCN Strategies $461,000 for mailers and advertising. The Coalition has also spent almost $600,000 with Sadler Strategic Media, a firm that places TV ads.  Some of these mailers and ads have attacked District 4 incumbent Steve Zimmer.

The Coalition has also spent $330,000 on its field operation, two-thirds of which went to 50+1 Strategies, run by political operative and former Obama organizer, Adisu Demisse.

On the polling front, the Feldman Group, headed by long-time pollster Diane Feldman, did $186,000 worth of polling for both the Coalition and SEIU on behalf of the reform candidates in District 2 and the East Valley’s District 6. In District 4, where SEIU and Coalition parted ways on candidate endorsements, SEIU is using pollsters to Peter D. Hart Research. (SEIU also perhaps earns the award for most novel spending: the SEIU PAC paid $92,000 to itself for “phone banking and expenses, literature, incentive awards”).

Previous posts: Labor Groups Spend for Garcia & SanchezCoalition, SEIU, County Fed Spend on CandidatesUTLA-PACE Spends, Bloomberg DonatesMike Antonucci: Follow the Money

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