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John Legend, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer rush to make endorsements in the most expensive school board race in U.S. history

LA School Report | May 9, 2017



(Photos courtesy Getty Images)

It’s not every day that national political figures like Bernie Sanders and Arne Duncan rush to endorse candidates in local school board races. But then again, very little about the intensifying Los Angeles school board showdown is typical.

As we’ve reported extensively in our 2017 election series, this year’s board race — which concludes in a May 16 runoff — has emerged as the most expensive in U.S. history, with more than $11 million flowing to two key contests as of Tuesday.

Beyond donors, the race has also attracted the attention of prominent celebrities and politicians, serving at both the state and federal level. Here’s just a sampling of the high-profile endorsements that have been made in the last few weeks:

  • Senator and presidential contender Bernie Sanders (endorsed Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla)
  • former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (endorsed Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez)
  • former Senator Barbara Boxer (endorsed Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez)
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (endorsed Steve Zimmer)
  • actor and director Tim Robbins (endorsed Steve Zimmer)
  • Singer John Legend (endorsed Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez)
  • “Downton Abbey” star Allen Leech (endorsed Nick Melvoin)

And that’s just scratching the surface. Read more about the close school board contests, and the parade of celebrities and policymakers who have taken a side, in Mike Szymanski’s roundup.

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