Democratic HD 49 candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith has been endorsed by a pair of education workers’ groups, his campaign announced Tuesday.

The endorsements came Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, which represents over 6,600 teachers, and the Orange County Education Support Professionals, which represents 1,800 school staff members in the area.

“Since day one, our message has been focused on improving the environment for students and teachers in our traditional public schools. That means letting teachers teach, reducing our reliance on high-stakes testing, and setting fair and consistent performance standards for our schools and teachers to ensure we achieve the desired learning outcomes for our students,” Smith said. “Orange County’s classroom teachers support our vision for change, and I’m honored to have their endorsement in this campaign.”

Smith is the only Democrat in the race for HD 49, which became an open seat after current Rep. Rene Plasencia decided to run for the more GOP-friendly HD 50 seat instead of re-election. He faces Republicans Martin Collins and Amber Mariano, a former intern of Plasencia’s, as well as no-party candidate Shea Silverman, a one-time intern for former state Senator and current U.S. Rep. Bill Posey.

Smith, who was previously former HD 49 Rep. Joe Saunders’ chief of staff, leads the other three candidates in fundraising with about $72,000 in the bank at the end of April.

Mariano, who filed in mid-March, has about $6,000 in her campaign account, followed by Silverman, who has raised $405 for her no-party run. Collins, who filed May 19, has not yet posted any campaign contributions.

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