CDP Chair’s Race: Ellis Campaign Files Formal Challenge to Result; Updated!


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Not from the actual CDP Chair Election Challenge.  As you knew.

[Note: See 8:00 pm May 30 Update below the Kimberly Ellis letter.]

Kimberly Ellis’s campaign today announced a formal challenge to the California Democratic Party’s Chair race election, one of an apparently large number of challenges to the elections from 10 days ago that are currently going forward.  Her opponent Eric Bauman has asserted that he has won the election and is apparently acting with the full powers of Chair pending future developments.

The ballot review — not technically a recount, audit, or investigation, but with elements of each — has been expected to end either today or tomorrow.  (No word yet as to when.)  At a minimum, this “preserves the rights” of the campaign, as a challenge is required to be filed within seven days (and either presumably was, or filing on the next working day is allowed) to continue to do research into the validity of ballots — which will be addressed in a separate post.

#PressRelease from the Kimberly Ellis campaign

Formal Challenge Issued in California Democratic Party Chair’s Race

For Immediate Release
Contact: 510-560-3704

OAKLAND, Calif. (May, 30, 2017): The Kimberly Ellis campaign has submitted a formal challenge to the election results in the California Democratic Party Chair’s race.

The campaign’s review of ballots and election procedures is ongoing. A formal challenge was issued, pursuant to Article XII, Section 4 of the Bylaws and Rules of the California Democratic Party. Per the bylaw, a challenge must be submitted within seven days of the cause of action.

The Ellis campaign’s action is also accompanied by challenges submitted in the CDP Female Vice Chair and Secretary officer elections, as well as challenges submitted in a majority of regional director races.

“Our review process is ongoing. It’s critical that all formal processes outlined by the CDP’s Bylaws are followed at this time so that there can be no concern about raising issues in the manner prescribed by our Party,” said Hilary Crosby, immediate past Controller of the California Democratic Party.

Observers have differed in their opinions as to whether the issuance of a press release about the challenge, regardless of any timeliness requirements for filing, indicates anything more than a preservation of rights — as if they knew at this point that no challenge would likely succeed, there would be no need to call attention to it.  This could range from anything between a recognition that security procedures for the election were flawed and having actually located a substantial number of ballots that were either improperly cast or at least could not as of this moment be shown to have been properly cast.

This story is not based on any inside information beyond that available on Facebook to large numbers of interested observers from the two major Chair campaigns.  (A third candidate, Lenore Albert, was reported to have received only 7 of 2,999 ballots cast and has not been a factor in the ballot review.)

We have no word as yet as to which Regional Directors races have been formally challenged as well, but the races in both Regions 17 and 18 were reported to contain procedural improprieties, including the party misinforming voters as to when the polls would close.  We’ll have more as it develops.

Here’s the largest version of the letter I could find:

UPDATE 8:00 PM:

CDP Executive Director Chris Masami Myers issues this statement this evening:

“On Sa‌turday, Ma‌y 20, 2‌017, the California Democratic Party held an election of officers. A count and a recount of the votes were conducted in the presence of observers from all candidates.

“Eric C. Bauman was elected Chair of the California Democratic Party, and took office immediately after the close of the general session on Sund‌ay, M‌ay 21, 2‌017.

“An agreement was struck between the outgoing Chair, the Kimberly Ellis campaign, and Chair Bauman to allow for a review of the ballots, a process that is currently underway.

“Subsequently, the Ellis campaign filed a challenge within the seven-day period afforded by the bylaws. A challenge was also filed in the Female Vice Chair race, the ballots in the Secretary’s race will be reviewed later this week, and three regional director races were challenged (Region 6, Region 11 and Region 18), within the seven-day window.

“Challenges filed pursuant to the bylaws will be handled in accordance with the standard practices described in the bylaws.”

So, no challenge in Region 17, which has also been a subject of this report by Joel Block in the Voice of OC.  For those who have been seeking “party unity” by putting such irregularities “behind us,” Mirvette Judeh has provided just that — and Florice Hoffman’s second term as Regional Director for 60% of OC now becomes a case study in how well the conciliatory approach will work.

The Female Vice Chair race had incumbent Alex Gallardo-Rooker winning apparent re-election against insurgent Norma Alcala, while the Secretary’s race ended in a Sunday runoff between Carolyn Fowler and Jenny Bach, which Bach won.  In Region 6, Margaret Okuzumi challenged incumbent Hene Kelly; in Region 11, Hans Johnson and Mark Ramos  faced off over an open seat; and in Region 18, Deborah Cunningham-Skurnik was declared the victor over San Diego County’s Rena Marrocco and Irvine’s Iyad Afalqa, who became Chair of the Arab-American Caucus.  No vote totals appear to be available on the CDP site.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)