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In nearly complete election returns Tuesday night, two challengers surged to leads in contests for the Los Angeles Board of Education.

The biggest early split was in District 5, where well-funded challenger Ref Rodriguez held a sizable advantage over one-term incumbent Bennett Kayser. That advantage narrowed as more ballots were counted but the gap appeared too much to surmount.

District 5 includes neighborhoods north and east of downtown, as well as the cities of southeast L.A. County.

Rodriguez gave remarks late Tuesday night that edged close to a victory speech, but he did not declare victory.

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