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Ratliff Holds Narrow Lead: Final Outcome Uncertain

Alexander Russo | May 22, 2013

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School Board candidates Antonion Sanchez (left) and Monica Ratliff (right)

So far there is no decisive victor in the race for School Board in District 6 (East Valley) between Monica Ratliff and Antonio Sanchez.

As of 3:16 am, Ratliff led Sanchez, 52 to 48 percent.

But the difference between them was slim — 20,243 votes for Ratliff compared to 18,779 for Sanchez.

If Ratliff prevails it would be a remarkable setback for Coalition for School Reform leaders led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who were confident Tuesday of a victory for Sanchez.

It would also be a remarkable victory for Ratliff, a full-time classroom teacher who enjoyed neither outside campaign funding nor the undivided support of UTLA.

New York University historian Diane Ravitch, who’s supported Ratliff, described it as a “possible incredible upset.”

For those watching the vote closely, results were excruciatingly slow to come in.

As the voting booths were closing Tuesday evening, a Coalition for School Reform source told LA School Report that there was a healthy turnout in Sanchez-friendly precincts.

Campaign insiders had noted that a higher turnout would give an advantage to Sanchez , and that internal polls showed Sanchez doing well.

Early on Tuesday evening, SEIU Local 99’s Courtni Pugh sounded confident on Twitter: “Getting it done for Antonio Sanchez.”

Sanchez also received support from the L.A. County Federation of Labor.

However, Ratliff received a powerful early boost from vote-by-mail ballots — just as Board Member Steve Zimmer had done in his race against challenger Kate Anderson in the District 4 primary in March.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen at the end,” Ratliff said in a LA Times story posted overnight. “But it’s nice to see that there were a number of voters who had faith in me as a candidate and were able to look past the glossy fliers and the money.”

Earlier in the evening, Sanchez told LA School Report he was “Feeling good. It’s early and we had a strong ground game.”

Sanchez won the March primary 44 percent to 34 percent.  The total number of votes cast in District 6 during the primary was under 39,000.

His campaign’s party was held at North Hollywood’s Bow and Truss.  (UTLA President Warren Fletcher and Secretary David Lyell were spotted there, talking to Sanchez.)

Ratliff’s lead has been shifting overnight as more results have come in.  (At 11:00 pm, it was 50 percent to 49 percent.)   But Sanchez has not closed the distance, and votes were slow to be tallied.

On Facebook, UTLA’s Brent Smiley reminded everyone that “Sylmar, Verdugo, Reseda are some of the most outlying precincts…they will be among the last to be counted tonight.”

The City Clerk’s office has not made public how many votes remain uncounted.

However, at 3:30 am, LA Times reporter Laura Nelson tweeted that “Monica Ratliff edges out Antonio Sanchez for the Board of Education seat.”

According to Nelson, the vote is “Almost final, but not quite,” with all of the precincts having been counted but not all the mail-in ballots.

Just over 39,000 votes had been tallied — roughly the same number as were cast in March.

More updates to follow.

Previous posts:  Voter Turnout Will Determine Outcome

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