It took nine long months, but the District 1 seat of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education is finally filled, and the winner is George McKenna. Coincidentally, the former school administrator campaigned hard to be appointed to the vacant seat in January, but his efforts were rebuffed as the LAUSD opted to have an election determine Board’s seventh member.
McKenna, 74, defeated fellow contender Alex Johnson, 33, by almost 1,800 votes in the Aug. 12 runoff election, according to results posted by the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office.
With all 324 precincts reporting by 11:42 p.m. on Aug. 12, McKenna reportedly earned 14,940 votes (53.18 percent) compared to 13,153 votes (46.81) for Johnson.
The City Clerk reported 28,366 ballots were cast, with about 10,883 voters showing up at the polls throughout Tuesday.
Total voter turnout was 8.28 percent.
The Aug. 12 election was a runoff race featuring the top two vote getters of the June 3 primary election. In that race, McKenna finished with more than 44 percent of the vote and finishing well ahead Johnson, who earned almost 25 percent of votes casted.
Specifically, McKenna earned 15,442 votes (44.28 percent) on June 3 – almost double that of second place. With 8,605 votes (24.67 percent), Johnson finished well behind McKenna but also well ahead of third place finisher Sherlett Newbill (3,293 votes, 9.44 percent).
Johnson is listed as an education policy advisor and served Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas as an assistant senior deputy for education and public safety. He also worked on teacher dismissal cases as a member of the Los Angeles Dept. of Education.
Other candidates included Rachel Johnson (1,870 votes), O.O. Manigault (1,836), and Hattie McFrazier (1,399).
In winning the Aug. 12 runoff, McKenna will complete the remainder of the LAUSD District 1 Board seat, which expires June 30, 2015.
McKenna, who was a principal at George Washington Preparatory School in South Central Los Angeles and a regional superintendent, had hoped to be appointed to the seat after the person who previously represented District 1 passed away in November. However, the LAUSD board voted to have a special election to fill the seat instead.
School board officials voted in January to hold a special election to fill the vacancy left by Marguerite LaMotte, who reportedly passed away Dec. 5 in San Diego, where she was attending a conference. At the time, LaMotte was the longest-serving member of the current board. She was 80.
LaMotte’s seat has been vacant since her death.
A portion of District 1 includes Century City and Palms.