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Former LAUSD worker ‘surprised’ at apparent State Assembly win

Craig Clough | November 5, 2014

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Patty Lopez

39th State Assembly candidate Patty Lopez (Credit:

It appears that a former LA Unified worker who received little press or campaign contributions may have pulled off a huge upset and narrowly defeated incumbent Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, for the District 39 seat in the California State Assembly.

Patty Lopez, who is also a Democrat and a resident of San Fernando, worked at LA Unified’s North Valley Occupational Center as a community representative from 2000-2012. Her website also says she has been a parent volunteer at a number of schools in the Pacoima area.

Lopez beat Bocanegra by 182 votes in yesterday’s election, although the results are not certified and Bocanegra does not appear to have conceded the race or asked for a recount.

The Secretary of State’s website shows 17,427 votes, or 50.3 percent, for Lopez, to Bocanegra’s 17,245, or 49.7 percent.

No one appears to have seen this coming, as Bocanegra received over $600,000 in campaign contributions, while Lopez had no campaign committee and reported no contributions or expenditures to the Secretary of State, according to the Post Periodical.

“I’m still surprised that I won the election,” Lopez told the Post Periodical. “I’m just a humble little housewife. I didn’t expect it. My main purpose was to raise my voice high enough to the government so they could hear our needs.”

The 39th District covers the northeast part of the San Fernando Vally, including North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sylmar, San Fernando and Tujunga.

Bocanagra was seeking a second term and is a well-connected, well-known politician, having previously served as chief of staff to his predecessor, current LA City Councilman Felipe Fuentes. He received the endorsement of the California Democratic Party, Congressman Tony Cardenas, the Los Angeles Daily News, The California Teachers Association, SEIU California and many other politicians and organizations.

Lopez, on the other hand, lists no major endorsements on her website and has no information about any particular campaign platform she has been running on.

Lopez had a small campaign staff and won support by going door to door, a supporter and Pacoima neighborhood leader Edwin Ramirez, told the Los Angeles Daily News.

“She was endorsed by the (Pacoima) community and supported by community members,” Ramirez said, according to the story.

Lopez told the Post Periodical that education will be her primary focus if she reaches office “because it’s needed in my community, and I want to focus on bringing more trade schools and vocational schools in my area.”

Neither Lopez or Bocanegra’s campaign office returned calls seeking comment for this story.


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