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California Attorney General Kamala Harris last night received the state Democratic Party endorsement for the state’s first open U.S. Senate seat since 1992 with an overwhelming 78.12% of the delegate votes. OC Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez received about 19.3% of the vote. About 2.6% of the delegates favored not endorsing at all.
The overwhelming portion of the visible support for Loretta came from Orange County. (Supporters of both candidates usually refer to them by their first names. In Harris’s case, it is often mispronounced: it’s KAW-muh-luh rather than kuh-MALL-uh.)
Throughout the auditorium, only a smattering of red and blue Loretta signs could be seen during and after her speech to the convention — third-from the last, followed only by Harris’s speech and a stem-winder of a speech by Vice-President Joe Biden, which like all major convention speeches will soon be available for viewing on the party’s cadem.org website — with one exception.
In the far back of the middle right of the room, a solid block of the signs appeared: Region 17 (all but the far north of the county and South County up to southern Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach) and Region 18 (South and South-bordering County and northern San Diego County.)
It was, in effect, Orange County versus the rest of the state — and at the end of the night Orange County was swallowing its shattered teeth. In major competitive races, getting over 78% of the vote is not considered to be a reasonable target to set, but a pipe dream.
Why is Orange County so out of step with the rest of the state here? I’ll have some thoughts on that when I return from San Jose (driving home with my family with a nice long layover at my in-laws in Ventura) late tonight, and can do things like posting videos.
But I will have a lot to say on the topic. I don’t think that I’ve mentioned this here before now, but I am the Orange County coordinator for Kamala Harris — and have swallowed a good share of my own teeth over the past few months while trying to organize on her behalf.
By all means, crazy kleptocratic local political blogs, put the blame squarely on me for this big loss in OC. That theory just means that, without my messing up Orange County for them, Kamala might have cleared 80%!
Nah, actually, they understand that I have had the single worst job in the campaign — the only job for which alienation from one’s county political party was actually a selling point!
But the opportunity to serve (to this point and beyond) in this position has deepened my understanding of the striking antipathy that the local party has had for Kamala Harris since at least 2010 — a story that the time is finally right for me to tell. It says a lot about our local Democratic power structure — much of which is OUTSIDE OF the DPOC itself — and with the convention safely out of the way it’s a good time for me to start telling it.
Two final (and tangential) points:
(1) Will Loretta drop out of the Senate race after this debacle? She might, but I doubt it. What people may care most about is: will she decide to try to keep her seat in Congress?
Even if she does drop out of the Senate race — and the consolidation of the Republican Party behind Senate candidate Duf Sondheim, with whom I had a long and unexpected interview at the convention, which I expect to publish on Monday, suggests that she might as well — I don’t think that that’s where she’s headed.
Instead, Loretta is likely banking on Hillary winning the Presidency — after which she’d be a shoo-in for a Cabinet position. I still do like and respect Loretta, and would be happier to see her tapped to become, say, Secretary of Homeland Security than most other possible nominees.
(2) At today’s convention, the endorsements in legislative races will be approved, after which a County Party or State Party Board member (I’m both) can be expelled for going against the party’s recommendation. (I expect that DPOC members will exempt themselves from any sanctions if Loretta does stay in the race and that the state party will just roll its eyes and sigh rather than dissolving the DPOC.)
But since I myself have no such protection, this is my last chance to SAFELY say a couple of things to readers:
* DO NOT SUPPORT Lenore Albert Sheridan is AD-72. I will write more about this soon, omitting the immediately previous sentence if I decide that I don’t want to tempt fate.
* DO SUPPORT Josh Newman over CDP-endorsed candidate Sukhee Kang in my old stomping ground of SD-29. Sukhee’s going to lose badly to Ling-Ling Chang if he makes the runoff — which would be less of a tragedy if he wasn’t likely to also suck up great volumes of state party resources, Jose Solorio-style — in the process of doing so. Newman, on the other hand, can beat Chang — an argument I’ll expand upon soon — and is also one of the nicest, smartest, and mist decent potentially viable candidates that I’ve seen in Orange County.
(If you see a big old honking ad supporting Newman in the right column soon, it will of course be Vern’s doing, not mine!)