A slate of delegates who filed a complaint with the California Democratic Party over illegal actions they say were taken during a delegate election have prevailed–and ended up winning four times as many seats in a repeat election. Among the problems found in the election was a Republican who voted as a Democrat.
On the weekend of January 13, party representatives held delegate elections in the majority of Senate and Assembly districts around the state. In the 51st Assembly District, a slate of candidates affiliated with Assemblyman Curren Price, D-Inglewood, were pitted against a “Democrats for Progress” slate led by Steve Bradford. Price had bested Bradford, a city councilman in nearby Gardenia, by a mere 113 votes in the Democratic primary for his seat last June.
Only two of the Progress slate’s seven candidates won any of the 12 delegate slots. After the election, activist Tim Goodrich of the Progress slate filed a complaint with the party, alleging six improprieties by the other side. Goodrich came four votes short of being elected as a delegate.
On March 5, the party issued an opinion acknowledging two improprieties among the six charges, and calling for a new election. Assemblyman Price, who was present at both elections, was not implicated in any wrongdoing.
The ruling found that Pablo Catano, who was affiliated with Price’s slate, improperly acted as convener for the election when he was also a candidate. The letter also said that due to the closeness of the election–many candidates lost seats by single-digit margins–there should have been greater attention paid to making sure all voters were eligible.
They also found a problem Goodrich didn’t know about: One voter in the delegate election, Hugo Rojas, was a registered Republican and thus not eligible.
Democratic Party spokesman Bob Mulholland said that there are always a few complaints every two years when delegate elections are held. In an average year, one complaint is found to have merit, often leading to a new election.
“Everyone agrees that the process went much better this time around,” Mulholland said. “Someone wasn’t watching the door as well as they should.”
The new election was held on March 25. Goodrich said that turnout jumped from 136 voters to 205. Goodrich and Bradford won seats, as did six other members of their slate. This included Alexis Beamon, who grabbed the coveted executive-board slot.
“Things were run extremely smoothly and efficiently this time around,” Goodrich said. “We’re all very happy with how the state party conducted the election.”
According to the party, a pair of complaints out of AD 42 were found to be without merit. The district is represented by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, who was not present at the contested election.
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