Updated election returns released Friday showed former LAUSD board member Jackie Goldberg maintaining her wide lead but still falling just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff in her bid to claim a vacant seat on the school board.
According to the updated tally released by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office, Goldberg has 48.45 percent of the vote from Tuesday’s special election to fill the vacant District 5 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District board.
If she fails to earn 50 percent of the vote, she will be forced into a May 14 runoff election against the second-place finisher. The race for second place is still too close to call, but Friday’s updated results showed Heather Repenning — a former teacher and aide to Mayor Eric Garcetti — moving into second place with 13.17 percent of the vote.
Huntington Park City Councilwoman Graciela “Grace” Ortiz had been in second place when unofficial results were released late Tuesday night, but her 53-vote lead evaporated in the updated count. Results now show Repenning with a 133-vote lead over Ortiz.
It was unclear how many votes remain to be tallied in the LAUSD race. Another vote-counting update is scheduled to be released Tuesday.
Educator Cynthia Gonzalez was fourth in the 10-candidate field with 9.77 percent and Allison Bajracharya, a former executive of the California Charter Schools Association, fifth at 6.06 percent.
No other candidate had more than 4 percent.
The vacancy was created in July when board member Ref Rodriguez pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges for laundering campaign donations from family and friends. He resigned from his board seat the same day.
District 5 stretches from Eagle Rock, Highland Park and to Atwater Village, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake south to Vernon, Maywood, Huntington Park, Cudahy, South Gate and Bell.
Goldberg, 74, is a former teacher, LAUSD board member, Los Angeles City Council member and Democratic state legislator. Two LAUSD board members last year unsuccessfully tried to have her appointed to the seat to serve out the balance of Rodriguez’s term, which runs through next year. But the proposal was rejected in favor of calling the special election.
Goldberg is heavily backed by United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing the district’s teachers. The union has been pouring money into Goldberg’s campaign, hoping to undo a board majority that generally favored expansion of charter schools in the district.
Rodriguez’s departure left the board with a 3-3 split on the issue, and a Goldberg victory would swing the panel back in UTLA’s favor.