Friday, June 2, 2017

California Democratic Party Chair Race Still Up in the Air

Wow, California! We just stepped up to the plate legislatively and passed single payer health care (in the Senate; it still has to be passed in the Assembly and signed by unpredictable Governor Brown). And that same Governor just stood up to Trump and said, "Do what you will, little man, California (along with Washington State and New York) are fighting climate change anyway." California is the world's 6th largest economy, and the US largest state. And it's a (mostly) solidly blue.

So why is our Democratic Party race for Chair such a conundrum? Almost two weeks after the election, we still don't know who the Chair is. The vote count showed Eric Bauman with 62 more votes than Kimberly Ellis. Then Kimberly asked to review the votes cast. Out of 2900 votes, a 62 vote difference is about 2%, slim enough to warrant checking. And close enough to show serious differences in our Party.

Bauman represents the mainstream, long time, inside politician. He's chair of the LA Democratic Party, works with the political committee of the Assembly, and heads a campaign consulting firm who last year got people in a tizzy over siding with big Pharma (and big bucks) over lower drug prices for consumers.

Kimberly Ellis is the long time executive director of Emerge California, a group that trains Democratic women to run for office. More progressive voters (some say "Berniecrats) tended to vote  for Ellis, while more mainline Party oriented Dems went with Bauman. (Bot supported Hillary Clinton in the June primary last year and several Progressive Caucus members voted for Bauman).

Today, we learn that the review has shown "alarming discrepancies and an amassing of ineligible voters to change the outcome of the election" and the Ellis campaign team is calling for an independent audit. Bauman is resisting. If all is on the up and up, why not have an independent outside source prove it? If not, there will be suspicions and hard feelings for years to come.

If we want transparency and any chance at unity, how can this hurt?