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Former opponents pick sides in LA Unified District 1 run-off

Vanessa Romo | July 8, 2014

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District 1 George McKenna, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Sherlett Hendy-Newbill and Rachel Johnson LAUSD

From left: Sherlett Hendy-Newbill, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, George McKenna, Rachel Johnson and Hattie McFrazier

Heading into the final month of the special election run-off to fill LA Unified school board’s District 1 seat, candidates George McKenna and Alex Johnson are collecting endorsements from former opponents.

The seat, which represents much of South LA, was left vacant when longtime school board member Marguerite LaMotte died in office late last year.

Today, reality-TV personality turned special education teacher, Omarosa Manigault, who came in fifth place during the primary race, threw her weight behind Johnson.

“Omarosa’s strong support of my runoff campaign will aid my efforts to connect with key voters before Election Day,” Johnson said in a statement.

“[She] shares my feeling that now is the time for a new generation of leadership to step forward with a broad coalition of support to implement a quality education agenda that will improve our schools and advance our children’s learning and achievement,”  Johnson said.

But the list of former adversaries now standing behind McKenna is much longer; Sherlett Hendy-Newbill, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Rachel Johnson, and Hattie McFrazier have all lined up behind the veteran educator.

“I am honored to be endorsed by these accomplished women who have been committed to improving the educational outcomes for the children of Los Angeles,” McKenna said on his website.

“Each has a track record within the LAUSD as a teacher and/or board member and they are aware of the issues involved in the day-to day operations of classrooms and school sites.”

McKenna, a retired school administrator, nearly won the primary race outright in June with 44 percent of the vote. He is also backed by his former colleagues at the school administrators union (AALA), and by the powerful teachers union, UTLA.

But several other labor unions, including SEIU Local 99, have come down in favor of Johnson, education advisor to County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Johnson has also garnered a long list of elected officials statewide who support him.

Johnson trailed behind McKenna with 24 percent of the vote in the primary election.

District 1 spans across south and southwest Los Angeles and has more than 74,000 students in 92 traditional schools and 37 charter campuses.

The special election for the school board seat is Tuesday, August 12.

Previous Posts: LAUSD candidates McKenna, Johnson set for election runoffJohnson’s internal poll shows gains on McKenna in runoffHendy-Newbill endorses McKenna in the District 1 runoff

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