Los Angeles teachers' union president Warren Fletcher said in remarks published that he will no longer actively campaign for reelection, clearing the path for challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl to become the next leader of United Teachers Los Angeles.
In the first round of voting in March, Caputo-Pearl received 48 percent of the votes and Fletcher 21 percent. The runoff election takes place this month with ballots set to be counted April 29.
In an interview Sunday, Fletcher told the Los Angeles Times that he has not formally suspended his campaign, and he would serve again if he won. But the one-term incumbent emphasized that he has accepted the near inevitable. He implied as much in a letter distributed last Wednesday at union area meetings.
"The results of the first round of the UTLA election were fairly unambiguous," Fletcher wrote in the letter. "The voting membership has decisively signaled the desire for a change in direction. To assert otherwise would be to deny an obvious reality."
Fletcher told The Times that he made a point of not beseeching union members to vote for him. Instead he called for unity and activism.
Fletcher said he was advised that he could win only with an unrelentingly negative campaign, which he is unwilling to do.
"Only a fool fights in a burning house," he told The Times.
—City News Service