Laura Friedman, who came in first in the 43rd Assembly race, posted on Tuesday on her campaign’s Facebook page.
Education reformers spent big ahead of California’s primary, and preliminary results Wednesday show the millions paid off with all of the candidates they supported advancing to November’s general election.
Carlos Marquez, California Charter Schools Association Advocates’ director of political affairs, said he was excited by the primary results.
“There were a lot of races that we invested in, we wanted to make sure we invested in quality candidates,” Marquez said. “We feel really affirmed in the decisions.”
LA Unified school board President Steve Zimmer railed Wednesday against the tactics used by the CCSA Advocates in the hotly contested 43rd Assembly District race and compared its spending in that race, at least $1.2 million, to special interest spending from oil and tobacco industries, which lobby for deregulation.
“This is no longer about choice. This is no longer about kids. It’s certainly not about civil rights,” he said. “It’s about deregulation. It’s about privatization.”
An independent expenditure committee called Parent Teacher Alliance sponsored by CCSA Advocates, the political arm of the CCSA, spent $910,791 on mailers supporting Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman and $304,355 to oppose Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian, as of Friday, state campaign finance records show.
Friedman won the primary race, earning 31.9 percent of the vote total, capturing 24,372 votes, according to preliminary election results. Kassakhian finished in second place with 24.3 percent, receiving 18,618 votes. The two Democrats topped the eight-candidate ticket to replace outgoing Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, who could not seek re-election due to term limits. They will likely compete in the Nov. 8 general election. The election results will not be finalized until mail-in and provisional ballots are counted. Voter turnout in the district was about 29 percent.
Photo posted on Ardy Kassakhian for Assembly 2016’s Facebook page.
Zimmer denounced the negative mailers sent by CCSA Advocates that flooded voters’ mailboxes in the district that includes Glendale, Burbank, La Canada Flintridge and parts of Los Angeles.
“It is base thuggery, no more or no less,” Zimmer said.
He called Kassakhian, whom he endorsed, the target of the mailers, an “innocent bystander” and said Kassakhian’s only crime was having a mother who was a public school teacher and support from teachers’ unions.
“I aspire to be half as decent a guy as Ardy Kassakhian is,” Zimmer said. “To take him out the way they did, to use the hate in those mailers, it’s a new standard of low. It has no rules, no boundaries, no ethics, no morals.”
The spending by charter school supporters in this race could be a preview of what will happen in March, when three seats on the LA Unified school board will be contested. Zimmer is up for re-election in what is sure to be a highly contested race. A challenger has already announced in the race. In 2013, Zimmer’s last re-election bid, millions were poured into the three races by outside groups. He captured 52 percent of the votes to defeat his opponent, Kate Anderson, who was backed by CCSA.