It was an election that didn't garner a lot of buzz. Sure, a myriad of campaign signs could be seen on every well-traveled corner throughout the community, but unlike other elections, it was a fairly quiet race with each candidate honed in on reaching out to the voters. And in the end, the Nov. 8 ABC School Board election proved to be a race where every vote truly counted.
After months of campaigning, longtime Cerritos resident edged out fellow candidate by 132 votes for the unexpired 2-year term -- the seat belonging to former boardmember Mark E. Pulido who stepped down from his post earlier this year .
Johnson, a mother of three, who raised her children in schools, said she woke up on Tuesday morning with some election day jitters -- perhaps in anticipation of a race that remained up for grabs until all 25 precinct results were posted.
"I felt stressed and scared when I woke up this morning, but just for a second, then I got up and felt excited too!" Johnson said with nervous laughter, adding that the last couple weeks of campaigning were quite challenging but at the same time "so rewarding to be out on the precinct walks and meeting and talking to people."
Johnson received several notable endorsements throughout her campaign, including support from Pulido, Mayor of Artesia Victor Manalo, Artesia Councilmember Miguel Canales, ABC Federation of Teachers President (ABCFT) Ray Gaer, Senator Alan Lowenthal and various Cerritos commissioners and committee members.
"All of the endorsements I have received are valued and respected, especially former ABC Board President and Cerritos Councilmember ," Johnson told Patch. "I am very grateful for the support of ABC’s classroom teachers and school employees."
The 47-year-old paralegal, spent election night at in Cerritos surrounded by more than 100 loyal supporters, including several students from local high schools. As the final tallies were released in favor of the first-time candidate, Johnson was overcome with emotion and a loss for words as her family and supporters cheered her on.
"I'm just really grateful for the support," Johnson said. "These people stuck it out. They've been here for hours. Thank you! That's all I can say! I'm overwhelmed!"
Yoo to Request Recount
Johnson's victory, however, remained uncertain for most of the night as Yoo took an early lead during the first three rounds of polling updates.
"I was anxious even with the absentee ballot results so I don't know until the end," Yoo said late last night. "We're waiting for two more precincts," she said from her campaign headquarters as she watched the numbers slowly begin to tilt in Johnson's favor during the final stretch.
The last two poll updates rolled in just after 11 p.m. Tuesday, sealing Johnson's comeback victory. Johnson received more than 34 percent of the votes (2,592), Yoo earned around 32 percent (2,462), followed by with about 30 percent (2,243), and with roughly 4 percent (281).
"I ran a good race and I was the hardest working among the candidates," Yoo said, adding that she intends to request a recount of the votes given the small margin of difference.
Voters Give Nod to Four Incumbents: Tse, Reyes, Spitzer and Law
In the other portion of the school board election, in which four 4-year terms were up for grabs, the four incumbents -- , , and -- took demanding leads early on and ultimately cruised to victory over the two other candidates and .
All newly elected school board members will be sworn in at the ABC School Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
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Here are the Semi-Final Official Results from the Nov. 8, 2011 ABC School Board Election according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk:
Semi-Final Official Election Results for the unexpired 2-year term:
* 25 of 25 precincts reported
Sophia M. Tse
Maynard G. Law
Semi-Final Official Election Results for the four 4-year term seats:
* 25 of 25 precincts reported