Tag Archives: CDP


Convention features a few legislative endorsement fights and two statewide

by Brian Leubitz

This year is a “platform convention”, meaning that all the policy focus will be to define our party’s general goals. You can see the 2012 platform here to get an idea of the general document and what you can expect moving forward.

On the endorsement front, there will be much hubub about the Secretary of State race, with Sen. Padilla looking to get the endorsement and the other candidates looking for a block.

The other statewide race to watch is the Controller’s race, where Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee will be facing off against Assembly Speaker John Perez as well as a Republican, David Evans, and former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells. Perez would certainly appear to be the favorite for the party endorsement, but the 60% threshold could be an obstacle.

I’ll be watching hanging around the convention all weekend, say hi if you see me. I’ll probably be posting more to my twitter account than Calitics, so keep an eye out there.

Preliminary Endorsement Recommendations from the CDP Pre-Endorsement Conventions

Recommendations will have to be ratified at CDP Convention in early March

by Brian Leubitz

The CDP released its recommendations from the pre-endorsement conventions held in each of the regions this weekend. You can check out the full PDF here. In some of the competitive races, Tim Sbranti got the nod in AD-16, Dan Wolk in AD-04, and Ted Leiu in CD-33. Meanwhile, several districts will be going to caucus at the convention, including AD-15 in the Berkeley area, AD-07 in Sacramento, and the somewhat intense race between Eric Swalwell and Ellen Corbett in CD-15.

All of these recommendations are subject to ratification at the CDP convention in Los Angeles on March 7-9. You can get the full details of the CDP endorsement process here.

Convention Wrap-up

DarakaConvention closes out strong

by Brian Leubitz

After the parties and events closed up on Saturday night, some bleary eyed delegates strolled in on Sunday morning to see the completion of the efforts that the various committees and groups worked on over the week.

But first, I want to congratulate all of the new regional directors, especially Hene Kelly who is replacing me as Regional Director of San Francisco and San Mateo. And a hearty congratulations go out to Daraka Larimore-Hall for his election to the position of Secretary of the Party.

After a few more speeches from elected officials, labor and community leaders, and the regional director volunteer of the year awards, the party approved the slate of resolutions without much protest. Perhaps they got little fanfare at the convention, but these were some very impressive resolutions. See the full slate of this year’s resolutions here (PDF).

The resolutions included a call for Prop 13 reform, resolutions supporting the heart of CEQA, a moratorium on fracking, and many more. Here’s the crucial clause of the fracking resolution.

THEREFORE,*BE*IT*RESOLVED*that the California Democratic Party supports: 1) an immediate moratorium on fracking, with such a moratorium to remain in effect until legislation and regulations  are put in place that repeal the exception in the Safe Drinking Water Act, guarantee public health and safety, mitigate the effects on climate change, protect the environment and allow government access and testing of the chemicals used; 2) full disclosure and testing of all sites; and 3) substitution of conservation and renewable sources of energy where practical;

Of course, the resolution calling for the Supreme Court to overturn prop 8 was close to my heart, and one calling for major reform of the UC and CSU boards and governance structure could have a big impact on an area that is gaining traction.

All in all, while it may not have had the excitement of some of the conventions of the past few years, this year’s convention was a big success for the party.  

A Smooth Convention

Internal Party issues take center focus as speakers begin

by Brian Leubitz

It probably isn’t the most exciting news for those outside of the bubble here in Sacramento, but a few issues are getting some attention.

Calitics regular RL Miller was in something of a brutal race for chair of the Environmental caucus, with robocalls flying back and forth. In the end, she won the race with a fairly wide margin, as progressive activists flooded the caucus.

If you were following the Calitics twitter feed yesterday, you may have seen some photos from the very successful Take Back Red California annual dinner, including the picture at right with LA County Party Chair Eric Bauman with Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Solis, who is looking at a run for LA County Supervisor, wrapped up the event with something of an inspiring speech.

Today, a parade of elected officials will regale the crowd, and the party will decide on a new secretary and the last batch of regional directors.

UPDATE: Check out the videos for some of the general session speakers.

Registration Numbers: GOP Continues to Dwindle

Feb. 10,2011 Feb. 10,2013
Political Party # Registered % of Total # Registered % of Total
American Independent 417,567 2.43 % 476,157 2.64 %
Americans Elect N/A  N/A 3,417 0.02 %
Democratic 7,569,581  44.04 % 7,932,373   43.93 %
Green 113,118 0.66 % 112,973 0.63 %
Libertarian 92,246 0.54 % 109,636 0.61 %
Peace and Freedom 58,470 0.34 % 61,612 0.34 %
Republican 5,307,411  30.88 % 5,225,675   28.94 %
No Party Preference 3,507,119   20.41 % 3,766,457   20.86 %
Miscellaneous 121,019 0.70 % 367,483 2.04 %
TOTAL  17,186,531 100 % 18,055,783 100 %
GOP drops nearly 2 percentage points in two years.

by Brian Leubitz

The Secretary of State’s office has released their off-year registration report, and the numbers are not good for the Republicans. Well, to be honest, most political parties don’t do well in these numbers you can check out to the right. While the bigger jump, percentage-wise, in voters declining to state their party came in the middle part of the last decade, those trends continue into this decade as well. DTS continues upward, as does the famous “Miscellaneous.”

More than a fifth of all registered voters, or 20.9 percent, declined to state a preference with any political party, reflecting a steady increase in the number of decline-to-state voters in recent years, or about 259,000 more during the past two years. In 2005, decline-to-state registration totaled 17.9 percent. (CapWeekly)

But for the GOP, the news that they have fallen below 30% can’t be anything but discordant music to the ears of new CRP Chair Jim Brulte. It only serves to put an emphasis on how far the GOP has fallen, and the big changes they’ll need to make in the state to return to relevance. Now, that is not to say that is an impossible task. Perhaps the top-2 primary system can result in a revitalized moderate wing of the California Republican Party, a wing that has been quite moribund in recent history.

In other news from the report, over a million people used the new registration website to register before the last election. That helped boost the total registration to 75.68% of all eligible voters, the highest such percentage in the past ten years or so. And with a little more time, perhaps we can hope for even higher numbers. As we make registering to vote easier, and the actual process of voting less time-consuming, let’s hope we can bring that number much higher. The more Californians vote, and express the will of the people, the better our democracy becomes.

As Brulte Eyes Local Races, Burton Pledges to Continue Support for Down Ballot Races

Will continue to foster development of so-called “farm team”

by Brian Leubitz

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Democratic Party is doing pretty well in the Legislature and our Congressional delegation.  However, the new CRP chair, Jim Brulte, is looking to start small, as you can hear in the video to the right if you care to wade through some shaky camera work and uninspiring Republican anecdotes.

John Burton, who is running for re-election to CDP chair and who worked relatively effectively with Brulte during their Leadership days in the State Senate, says that he doesn’t plan on ceding any ground:

“They’ve got to start at the bottom because they can’t elect anybody at the top,” Burton told Calbuzz. “They have to carry the burden of those fucking idiots in Washington . . . On the big picture, they’re pissing against the wind. … {but} We’re not going to abandon local races to the Republicans.” (CalBuzz)

Burton pointed to the election of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, but there are many more examples of Democrats moving into nonpartisan offices, even in Republican areas. Brulte, if he is to have a modicum of success, must make big gains in that area. But it requires a lot of infrastructure that is really not present for the Republicans in California, infrastructure that Burton has helped to make possible for Democrats.

John Burton to run for re-election as CDP Chair

Current CDP Chair launches with broad endorsements for another term

by Brian Leubitz

CDP Chair John Burton already suffered through his “bankruptcy workout” by clearing up a tough financial situation at the CDP upon his arrival. While his task was nowhere near the mess that Jim Brulte is looking at right now, he chose and built a staff that lead the party forward towards a brighter future. (Hint: See the results in 2010 and 2012)

Now the former State Senate Majority Leader, Congressman, and a list of other titles, is announcing that he will be running for reelection as Chair of the California Democratic Party:

We’re coming off an exciting election in 2012. We exceeded our goals every step of the way, and that’s due to your activism and support of Democrats across the state.

Together, we defeated Proposition 32 the Anti-Union measure, and passed the Governor’s Proposition 30 to help our public schools. Not only that, we picked up six brand new Democratic seats in Congress and achieved a 2/3rds majority in the legislature.

I want to continue our fight for a more progressive California for another four years.

I remain committed to winning elections and speaking out on the issues and values that keep our Party in the liberal forefront of Democrats throughout the nation.

He launched a new website for the campaign with a broad list of endorsements, including one Brian Leubitz, Regional Director.  I am proud to support John because of the work that he has done not only in the infrastructure and capacity of the party, but that he has been, and will continue to be, a great leader for progressive values. When it comes to John Burton, you know where he stands. Whether it is calling for the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan in 2009, or fighting for health care reform, he will be using his resources to push for our shared values.

I hope you will join me in supporting John Burton for another term as CDP Chair.

John Perez Wins A Battle Against Torie Osborn, But Loses The War For 2/3rds

With 100% of precincts reporting, the race for the 50th Assembly District ended with an upset, with community organizer Torie Osborn ending up in third place, and the Democratic Mayor of Santa Monica, Richard Bloom and Democratic Assemblywoman Betsy Butler surviving the June primary – only to face each other again in November.

Butler squeaked into first place by only 102 votes.

Her boss, Assembly Speaker John Perez, spent over a million dollars to get Butler those votes. But while he was busy waging a war against Torie Osborn in AD50, he lost the war for AD66, and ultimately the 2/3rds majority Democrats desperately needed to break Republican obstruction in Sacramento.

Let me explain.

The Democratic candidate in AD66, Al Muratsuchi, came in first against his Republican opponents and will face off against millionaire Republican Craig Huey in the fall. But while good news for Democrats in the short-run, the numbers look dismal for Muratsuchi in November.

With 100% of precincts reporting,Muratsuchi garnered 22,000 votes while his Republican opponents Huey and Nathan Mintz combined received nearly 33,000 votes. Mintz will certainly endorse Huey, so expect Republican voters to fall in line for the general election.

That’s a hell of an enthusiasm gap to overcome.

Muratsuchi received virturally no support from Sacramento even as Perez publicly  declared the Santa Monica/West Hollywood race his top priority, securing the California Democratic Party endorsement for Butler at the February convention, then directing or pressuring Assembly members, Sacramento unions, and PACS to dump over a million dollars into the safe blue seat.

What that means in real-world terms is that while Sacramento squandered it’s resources in AD50, there was nothing left over to help South Bay activists register voters or build any infrastructure to get out the vote. It’s a deficit that, even if corrected now, will haunt the district through the fall.

What remains to be seen is if Perez will bother to correct that deficit at all. In fact, it’s far more likely he will continue this destructive pattern into the general election.

Victory in November isn’t assured for Butler. By all accounts, she proved to be a terrible campaigner in the AD50 race, relying almost entirely on Sacramento’s largess to get her through the June primary. It’s anyone’s guess as to how she will do against Bloom, who has the advantage of real – not manufactured – incumbency in the district.

As Sacramento contemplates even more draconian cuts to education, healthcare, social services and environmental protection, the legacy of these two races will be a stunning indictment of Assembly Speaker John Perez’s lack of leadership.  

Just in Time For The June 5th Primary: Sacramento Dem Dysfunction In One Easy Graph

Back in February, I reported how Dem leadership in Sacramento apparently just wasn’t all that into winning a 2/3rds majority this year.

Turns out 4 months later, not much has changed.

To review, thanks to redistricting and a new “open primary” system, Democrats have a realistic shot in 2012 at picking up the two seats in the Assembly needed to achieve a 2/3rds Democratic super-majority and overcome obstruction from Republicans. Without that super-majority, things will continue to deteriorate in Sacramento, with Democrats forced to make draconian cuts to education and the social safety net instead of finding ways to raise revenue to balance the California budget.

“California voter approval of the Democratic-controlled legislature slinks along between 9 and 20 percent in recent Los Angeles Times and Field polls,” writes former state Senator Tom Hayden in the Nation magazine. “Despite Democratic majorities in both houses and control of all statewide offices, the Democratic Party seems chronically unable to deliver the minimum that voters want from their government: results. College tuitions keep rising, and college doors keep closing. School funding keeps declining. Wetlands and redwoods keep disappearing. Billions spent on mass transit do not reduce congestion and air pollution. To a disillusioned majority, all the Sacramento fights appear to be about slowing the rate of California’s decline”

Yet Democratic leadership and PACs donated over a million dollars to two “incumbent” Assembly members running in super-safe Democratic districts while virtually ignoring other seats in swing districts (source ca.sos.gov)

Mike Allen in AD10 (+35 democratic voter registration) and Betsy Butler in AD50(+33 democratic) together received 5x more money than Al Muratsuchi – a non-incumbent Democrat running in AD66 (+3 democratic) against two better-known and well-funded Republicans.

He has received no money from the California State Democratic Party, while Allen and Butler combined have received over a $100K.

Eric Bauman, Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party, believes it’s a non-issue.

“Let’s not get caught up in misunderstanding or distorting the challenge. Muratsuchi’s race is a November race, not a June race – rest assured he’ll be fully resourced in the general election.”

Rick Jacobs, founder of the California Courage Campaign, disagreed, raising concerns that throwing resources at safe Democratic seats would damage the CDP’s credibility with grassroots activists.

“So then comes the question as to why, given priorities statewide, the leadership raises and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in AD 50. How does that inspire people to work hard and raise money for 2/3?”

Susie Shannon who serves on the Executive Board of the CDP Progressive Caucus was similarly incredulous. “How do they expect to raise money from the grassroots in the future if they are just going to whittle it away on safe Democatic seats? Any way you slice it, the (money) spent on the Butler primary could have been saved for the Marutsuchi general election to defeat the Republican candidate, or any number of more productive endeavors. I would rather see this money going to overtime pay for the overworked CDP staffers.”

The question now is what happens after June 5th if “incumbent” Assembly democrats Butler and Allen end up running against “non-incumbent” Democrats in November instead of Republicans.

Will Democratic candidates facing Republicans in other districts be, as Bauman promises, “fully resourced”? Or will Butler and Allen continue to take the lion’s share of Sacramento’s and the CDP’s pie?

“I would venture many thousands will be spent to support the candidates endorsed by the CDP,  and that includes Butler and Allen,” said Bauman.

“The CDP and (Speaker John Perez’s) priorities should be to make sure we have 2/3 majority so we could actually accomplish some important things like generating revenue, ” said Agi Kessler, a delegate to the California Democratic Party and chair of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.

Concerned that party leadership would waste money on Democrat-on-Democrat races throughout the state, Kessler and other democratic party activists circulated a petition at the CDP convention asking Assembly Speaker Perez to prioritize winning a legislative super-majority when allocating limited resources. They submitted nearly 300 signatures from fellow delegates.

“As of today we’ve received no response from the Speaker or anyone in his office”, said Kessler.  

CDP Convention Begins Today

New platform and gearing up for the Presidential election is on tap in San Diego

by Brian Leubitz

I’m about to head down to San Diego for the annual installment of CDP convention madness. Or as I like to call it, a weekend with some fellow political nerds.

As you’ve probably read on these pages, there are some issues of party endorsements going on.  AD-50 (Bloom, Butler, Osborn) has been a very competitive fight, with legislators moving delegates into the district and accusations of club packing. And the bruising battle between the “-ermans”, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, in CD-30 has meant that I’ve received more mail for a CDP convention than I ever thought possible.

Other notable events include the ratification of the state party platform.  The platform committee will be meeting all day today to nail down the wording, and you can drop on by to learn more.

I’ll be around all weekend, come find me and say hi!  I’ll be doing most of my updating 140 characters at a time, so follow my twitter account to get the latest updates.