Eight candidates have thrown their hats in the ring to fill the Los Angeles Unified school board seat left vacant after Marguerite LaMotte died in December. The office represents Palms, Koreatown, Crenshaw, and South Los Angeles on the seven-member board.
That may not be the final number. Tuesday is the last day to file the paperwork at the Los Angeles City Clerk to run in the June 3rd special election - and district-watchers said there could be a last minute flurry of filings.
The race has sparked interest from high-profile African American politicians, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Two of the eight candidates, George McKenna and Genethia Hudley-Hayes, are well known in L.A. Unified circles.
McKenna worked as a principal and administrator for L.A. Unified and several other Southern California districts. His reputation for turning around a low performing high school inspired a 1986 TV movie starring Denzel Washington. He’s supported Congresswoman Waters.
Hudley-Hayes previously held the seat. She was unseated by LaMotte in 2003 after one term. She had been elected with the help of then L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, a charter school proponent.
Gardena councilwoman Rachel Johnson is also running. Rounding out the list of hopefuls are an engineer, a parent, and a few educators running.
Alex Johnson, a deputy to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, said last month he intended to run but as of Friday night his name didn't appear on the city clerk's list of those who've filed to run.
But filing is just the beginning. Candidates have until March 7th to gather hundreds of endorsement signatures, which will be verified before their names appear on the June 3rd ballot.