Tag Archives: migden

Live from The Donkey Show: Nerd Wars

(A great recap of the CDP Convention. If you aren’t following Sweet Melissa, you’re missing out on some of the most insightful SF political commentary on the web. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Constant Readers,

In my final post about the California Democratic Convention, Ima write about the saga of Carole Migden and Mark Leno and the fight over who would and (perhaps, more importantly) who would not get the Democratic party endorsement for the District 3 State Senate seat.


I’ve already written about Friday night, so let’s start with Saturday. Over breakfast, I wrote a post about Migden’s public display of lunacy on Friday night, then dealt with the proxy fiasco. After that, Beth and Brian D. (also proxies) arrived in San Jose and a group of us met up for lunch before we had to go vote. In anticipation of a boring afternoon, the booze flowed liberally as we debated the difference between a “nerd” and a “dork” – which is only something a bunch of nerdy dorks would do. Then we ambled on over to the convention center to engage in some Sauvignon Blanc-fueled heckling.

Here’s how it works: before all of the CA delegates vote on whether to endorse a candidate, the candidate’s Region has to hold an election to endorse the candidate. In this case it was Region 4 whose delegates needed to vote to endorse Migden or Leno. As the incumbent, Migden only needed 50% + 1 of the number of votes cast by delegates. As the challenger, Leno needed 70% +1 of the total number of votes cast by Region 4 delegates to get the endorsement.

It took forever to register to get in to do the Regional vote and Bethy and I passed the time by making fun of people and thinking up new ways to complain about how long everything was taking. We also ran into some familiar faces like Chris Daly and Sarah Low and their two ridiculously adorable children.

As you can imagine, the passive-aggressive “sign wars” were on tilt.  Ultimately Migden won the Regional endorsement with 150 votes to Mark Leno’s 115 and one idiot voted for Joe Nation even though Monsieur Nation didn’t bother to show up.

Normally when a Region votes to endorse a candidate, the matter of whether the rest of the state delegates will vote to endorse the candidate is a done deal. For that reason, regional endorsements go on what is called a “consent calendar” to be considered by all the state delegates on Sunday. The consent calendar consists of a bunch of procedural stuff that does not merit debate. However, Leno’s people went to work on Saturday night getting enough signatures to pull the Region 4 Migden endorsement off of the consent calendar so it would be voted on separately by the entire body of delegates on Sunday. They needed 300, and got over 600 signatures (unofficial count). Sunday’s vote would be interesting. In the meantime, there was dining, drinking, dancing and debating to do with Beth Spotswood, Brian Devine, Luke Thomas, Brian Leubitz, Bob Brigham and Mark Leno.  


I was in sorry shape on Sunday morning. Nevertheless, I had to go to registration early and turn back over my Kamala credentials because she wanted to vote in the main Leno/Migden event. So, I became Erin again and set up my computer on the press podium next to a writer from the L.A. Times. Hungover, not-Kamala and sitting next to a real journalist, I just wanted the day to be over. Unfortunately, the convention planners seem to believe that democracy includes giving every party official, delegate and janitor the chance to give a speech.

After being told all day that the Leno/Migden vote was “about to happen”- at about 1 pm it finally began. Each candidate had two minutes to make a statement. Someone from the United Farm Workers (whose name I couldn’t hear) spoke for Migden and then Migden made a quick statement. Then it was Leno’s turn. Karen Bass spoke for Leno briefly and then Leno made a short statement, too. Kamala Harris stood at Leno’s side during the statements.  

Overruling the Region 4 vote and preventing the party endorsement of Migden required a simple majority. The final tally was 298 in favor of keeping the Migden endorsement and 742 opposed. (Even Leno supporters were like “daaaaaaamn!”) So, no Democratic party endorsement for Migden – which means no $1.5 million of party money for her campaign, or bail, or whatever.

Note that Leno doesn’t have the endorsement now either (someone made a motion on Sunday that would have resulted in a Leno endorsement but that move requires 75% approval and he only got 60%).  

Procedural maneuvers, local politicos and great friends – it was Nerdtopia. Where can I sign up to go again next year?


Thoughts about last night, with pictures

Last night’s signature-gathering spectacle was quite the event.  During my time outside actually getting some dinner to sustain my convention activities, I saw several Leno gatherers several blocks away from the convention center hunting down delegates–and just about every single time, they were being stalked by Migden supporters.  I even heard that one Migden “stalker” followed a Leno gatherer to her hotel room, forcing her to call hotel security.


Meanwhile, I just heard a rumor that Ted Kennedy will be coming to speak to the (superdelegates at the) convention to counter Bill Clinton’s.

On my way in here this morning, I was sniffed by a dog for the first time.

The Leno people certainly are dedicated; I got a Leno doorhanger under my hotel room at 3am last night (after I finally got back from karaoke and drinks with Robert, Todd and Lucas).

Have a couple of pictures below.

Mark Leno rallies his supporters after their parade announcing 600 signatures

Robert in Monterey talks to Fiona Ma at her karaoke bash

Here’s a copy of the leaflet that Leno’s people covered the convention hall with today