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Your #EDlection2018 primer: The facts, figures, and faces that will shape Tuesday’s primary

Laura Greanias | June 4, 2018

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Tomorrow is California’s long-awaited primary, and education watchers are all-eyes on two races.

At the top of the ticket is the governor, with 27 candidates. The most important question won’t be who comes in first — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom maintains a commanding lead — but who makes it to the No. 2 spot. In California primaries, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, even if they are from the same party.

Will former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat and torch-bearer of education reform, carry his predominantly Latino home base, or will Republican John Cox ride his Trump-bump and presidential tweet support into the November general election? They were both campaigning hard — and in Los Angeles — on Sunday working to boost turnout. As of Friday, only 16 percent of the 11.6 million ballots mailed to Californians had been returned.

Four candidates are running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, the other hot education ticket of the day. There’s little doubt that the top two will be Marshall Tuck, backed by education reformers and charter schools, and Tony Thurmond, backed by unionized teachers.

There’s always the chance that one of them could win outright in the primary, but the only public polling in the nonpartisan race showed them tied at 13 percent each, with nearly three-quarters of respondents still unsure who they would vote for. However, among Latinos, Thurmond was outpolling Tuck 24 percent to 20 percent. The poll was conducted in April by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Governor’s Race

Read more about the governor’s race, the Los Angeles forum on children’s and education issues that drew three of the candidates, and four gubernatorial candidates’ written responses to questions on children’s issues, plus more, at LA School Report’s EDlection 2018 roundup:

At special children’s forum, California governor candidates lament state’s treatment of kids & point to education as the way forward

#EDlection2018: ‘I will be the education governor,’ Antonio Villaraigosa vows at LA’s candidate forum on children’s issues

Exclusive video: California’s gubernatorial candidates talk school equity, student standards & reprioritizing education at children’s forum

From voters to donors, education emerging as key issue in gubernatorial primary; While Newsom leads, Cox & Villaraigosa duke it out for 2nd place

#EDlection2018: Where do California governor candidates stand on education and children’s issues? Check out their responses ahead of Tuesday’s forum in Los Angeles.

Two-thirds of California voters say education is a ‘very important’ issue in governor’s race, survey finds

LA students see in Villaraigosa’s California Students’ Bill of Rights an opportunity to improve schools and their teachers’ working conditions

Superintendent’s Race

Read LA School Report’s interviews with all four superintendent candidates:

Marshall Tuck, 44 and a Democrat, lives in Los Angeles. He led Green Dot Public Schools, a network of independent charter schools in Los Angeles, and Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. He narrowly lost to Tom Torlakson in the 2014 race for state superintendent.

Tony Thurmond, 49 and a Democrat, is in his second term representing the Bay Area’s Richmond in the state Assembly. Thurmond served on the Richmond City Council from 2005 to 2008 and the West Contra Costa Unified school board from 2008 to 2012.

Lily E. Ploski, 44, is running as an independent. She was raised in public schools in Orange County and Riverside County and attended community college at Diablo Valley College in the Bay Area, where she found her life’s passion to work in education. Ploski is a former administrator at Solano Community College and teaches financial literacy to inner-city high school students in an Upward Bound program at Mills College.

Steven Ireland, 59, is nonpartisan, has never run for office before, and is running as “the parent candidate.” The only position he has held in education was PTA president at Toluca Lake Elementary School, in the Los Angeles area. He works full time as a television producer.

#EDlection2018: Your quick guide to the 4 candidates running for state superintendent & highlights from their interviews

School choice, charters, and unions — Hot topics as candidates for state schools chief meet for the first time

Who’s voting in Los Angeles County?

Exactly half of Los Angeles County’s 10.2 residents are registered to vote: Of those 5.1 million registered voters, 2 million are permanent vote-by-mail voters.

With Republican Cox leading statewide in the battle for No. 2 in the race for governor, the much-watched question in LA County will be whether Villaraigosa can attract enough votes in his home territory. He and Newsom will vie for the 51 percent of LA County’s registered voters who are Democrats. Cox will hope to win most of the Republicans, but they make up only 18 percent of the county’s registered voters. In the county, 27 percent are of no party preference.

Interest in the primaries is hard-won — the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll shows 87 percent of the public had not watched any of the gubernatorial debates. And so turnout will be closely watched.

Turnout in primary elections has been falling in the county. LA County’s turnout in the statewide June primary in 2006 was 27 percent, dropping to 24 percent in 2010, and lower again, to 17 percent, in 2014.

More than a third of the state’s Latino voters are in Los Angeles. Los Angeles registration is 30 percent Latino.

Latino turnout has been historically very low in primary elections, particularly in gubernatorial cycles, writes Paul Mitchell in Capitol Weekly.  In 2014, Latinos in Los Angeles County turned out at just 10 percent, while in San Francisco it was only 19 percent.

Latino turnout will be particularly important in the governor’s race. Of California’s 19 million registered voters, just under half its 39.5 million population; 40 percent are Latino.

Where to vote?

All polling places close at 8. First results will be available around 8:15, for vote-by-mail results, at

Results are tentatively scheduled to be certified on June 29, and declared official on July 3.

Find your polling place here, by putting in your last name, birth date, your address and ZIP code. It will give you your voting address, handicapped access information, and any special instructions (such as which door to go in, or which floor).

Polling places will open Tuesday, June 5, at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

You can also see your sample ballot in a dozen different languages, including Tagalog, Hindi, Farsi, and Vietnamese.

There’s also a link for a map to the polling location.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at EDlection 2018.

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