To many attending the California Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles last weekend, the vote to approve or object to the endorsement of Rep. Jane Harman (CA/36), was too close to call - certainly not reflective of a frenzied convention tabulation Party Chair John Burton delivered with the qualifier, "No one was bribed."
After over a thousand votes were counted in just a few minutes, congressional challenger Marcy Winograd questioned the validity of the approximately 60-40% vote count to endorse Harman. Said Winograd, "I saw a sea of objections to Harman's endorsement. I don't know who had the majority of the floor, but I suspect the reported tally was way off. Delegations overlooked by the counters had to scream to get counted."
To push the vote to the floor, a hundred Winograd for Congress supporters gathered at the convention Saturday night to collect nearly 500 delegate objections in four hours to Harman's pre-endorsement by the local caucus, composed of mostly elected officials and their appointees.
On the floor of the convention, Party leadership tried to cut off debate, then had officers leave the stage to argue for Harman's endorsement on the floor because Harman herself did not even show up. "Clearly the leadership was taken aback at the strength of our challenge and circled the wagons," said Winograd.
In her speech, Winograd told fellow delegates, "Brothers and sisters, rank and file Democrats, this is a struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party. Are we for jobs or wars, homes or big banks, our street or Wall Street? You have the power to change the course of history."
With the endorsement process over, Winograd will concentrate on reaching the voters directly with her message of grassroots empowerment. "It is time to end the corporate stranglehold on Congress and usher in a new day for working families," said Winograd.
Caitlin Frazier, Winograd Press Secretary