In an endorsement that somehow flew under the radar, outgoing School board member Nury Martinez has endorsed Iris Zuniga to be her replacement, according to the League of Women Voters’ Smart Voter website.
The site notes that newly-elected Congressman Tony Cardenas and State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra have also endorsed Zuniga. Aides to Martinez and Bocanegra have confirmed the endorsements. Congressman Cardenas’ staff has not yet returned our request for comment.
The endorsements are boost for Zuniga, but she remains a long-shot candidate after her opponent, Antonio Sanchez, garnered the endorsements of the unions, the Democratic Party, and the Coalition for School Reform. Those endorsements came after Martinez, Cardenas and Bocanegra endorsed Zuniga.
All three Latino politicians represent or have represented areas inside or overlapping District 6, which covers the eastern part of the San Fernando Valley. They’re also part of a powerful political clique in the East Valley that includes State Senator Alex Padilla and former Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes that almost always endorse the same candidates (Padilla and Fuentes have not yet endorsed anyone in that race).
A source told LA School Report that it was Martinez who asked the group to support Zuniga. The source also said it was Martinez who asked Ernie Cardenas, Tony’s brother who was at one point running for the District 6 seat, to drop out.
Another motivation for Martinez may have been Zuniga’s gender. When speaking with LA School Report in October, Martinez had this to say about Zuniga, who is a mother: “I absolutely believe there needs to be more women in these positions. I [also] believe there needs to be more parents on these boards.”