This last weekend, I participated in the California Democratic Convention as a delegate.
The main focus of the convention was the selection of which candidates for office in the upcoming June primaries the Democratic Party would support. Also at hand, though not at all controversial within the party, were the upcoming propositions.
There were enough speeches to make your head spin. Prominent visitors included Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Brown, Debra Bowen, and many more.
The party passed the following positions on the propositions, essentially without dissent or controversy: Yes on 13 and 15, No on 14, 16, and 17. I'll be posting some more analysis of these measures in the weeks to come.
Jerry Brown is not the only Democrat on the ticket for June for the Governor's race, but certainly the only viable one. There was some significant competition for delegates' support between Gavin Newsome and Janice Hahn for the Lieutenant Governor's slot. The delegates voted on whom the Party would endorse, but there was no clear winner. Newsome squeaked by with a 50% majority but 60% threshold is needed to show a consensus. So the party will not be pushing one candidate over another for June.
For the office of Attorney General, there are a half a dozen or so candidates for the job, and they had agreed that nobody would be seeking the Party's endorsement. So while we heard from these candidates, it's wide open as to who will represent the Democrats going into November. I'll be sharing my thoughts on this primary race later.
There were two candidates for Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones and Hector De La Torre. I actually met Jones a few years ago, and have followed his candidacy, and I've gotten to be a strong supporter of him — as well as most progressives I know. Jones reached the 60% threshold in support among the delegates, so he'll be getting the weight of the party going into June.
The main item of controversy was a bit of a replay of a couple of years ago. Right-wing Jane Harman of the 36th District in Southern California was again challenged by progressive Marcy Winograd. This time, Harman took the threat seriously enough to come to the convention and try to defend herself. She showed her true colors when she tried to convince the members of the Progressive Caucus that she held the values of a Democrat and a Progressive — it was painfully clear she does not. Unfortunately, the party insiders made sure that she, as an incumbent, got the party's endorsement, even though she really belongs in the Republican Party.
You can't win them all!
This was my sixth convention — and, quite probably, my last for a while. I don't want to be one of those delegates who continues year after year and gets stagnant — there is plenty of "new blood" and I'll be happy to let somebody else do this for a while. :-)