Progressives Question Winograd-Harman Endorsement Vote

Normon Solomon, Marcy Winograd, Michael Jay

Last weekend at the California Democratic Party (CDP) convention in Los Angeles, Marcy Winograd, Progressive Democratic candidate facing off in the June primary against incumbent blue dog Democratic candidate Jane Harman, through a tremendous grassroots effort was able to push to a floor vote Harman’s endorsement by the CDP.

It is important to note that in California, of all the delegates in a district, two-thirds one third of them are either elected officials or appointees of elected officials. Two-thirds are actually elected by a vote of local Democratic party members. Typically local endorsements are moved right to the annual convention’s consent calendar and the state party’s endorsement follows as almost a fait accompli. Interestingly, Harman’s endorsement for the 36th Congressional District was the only endorsement of 2010 to be challenged by the delegates to the CDP.

In the following video you will witness what started as a skirmish to prevent Harman’s state party endorsement, develop into a battle royale for the very heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

Kevin Lynn

Still photos: Linda Sutton


  1. Alan8 says

    It’s like night and day: Winograd is for citizens, Harman is a corporatist.

    It’s disappointing that the Democrats are divided on such a clear-cut issue. The Democrats have unfortunately embraced corporatist values.

    I’m contributing to Winograd; the first time I’ve contributed to a primary in another state, but the Republican/corporatist values of Harman must be opposed.

    The Democrats have shown themselves to be unable to represent citizens’ interests because of all the corporate money they receive. From now on, my support, contributions, and votes will go to the Green Party, which doesn’t accept ANY corporate money, and which more closely represents my values.

  2. Richard M. Mathews says

    I hope this does not come off as sounding like support for Harman. I do not like Harman. I am, however, quite disappointed with the poor turnout by progressives.

    It was devastating when Marcy lost the district caucus by a 6:1 margin. As I understand it, there were 50 votes for Harman and a combined eight votes for Marcy and no endorsement (if I have this wrong, I’d appreciate knowing the actual vote count). Just eight votes!

    Even if you assume the district caucus is 50% under the control of electeds who all love Harman and who somehow swing the election of some county committee members or AD representatives, Marcy still could not get more than 30% of the votes of the grassroots members of the district delegation. It was incredibly disappointing to see that Marcy rounded up so little support when it was really needed, and it calls into question whether she can get the votes on election day (I expect this bad news will not be taken well, but either the truth is settling in or this is a big wakeup call).

    It is also incredibly depressing that out of about 2000 delegates who registered at the convention, almost half of them did not vote on this. Either they already left, or they abstained. A small fraction of those not voting could have turned the vote around. When choosing our county committee and AD representatives, we need to ask if they plan to stick around for all votes.

    Eric Bauman’s call for delegates statewide to uphold this overwhelming district vote sealed the deal. He turned it from being a question of supporting Marcy or Harman to whether to support the district delegates who went to vote.

    I don’t see the electeds from this district as being an evil bunch. This includes Debra Bowen, John Chiang, Ted Lieu, Warren Furutani, and Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. Yes, some of those endorsed Harman, but I do not believe it is fair to claim that Harman controls these people or that they control us.

    There were big areas of the convention floor that were clearly favoring no endorsement. Other big areas were clearly favoring Harman. Where you stood could definitely affect your perception of the vote. I personally did not see anything that convinced me that the vote count was inaccurate.

    If Marcy wants to succeed, she must focus on the coming election, not questioning one that has passed and is forgotten by all but a few whose sides are already chosen.

  3. Karen Wingard says

    Kevin’s correction of the fraction of officeholders and their appointees (from 2/3 to 1/3) actually only applies to the district in question, though it is a fairly consistent rough estimate.
    For a detailed analysis of the membership, one should refer to the most recent revision of the CDP bylaws, available at the website It is probably also a false assumption that all officeholders will consistently support the endorsement of other incumbents (some consciously abstain or even vote “no endorsement”), or that unsuccessful nominees to partisan political office will vote with successful electeds. Also, while county central committees are elected by the Democratic electorate, they, too, can vary throughout the state in how much they actually represent the Party’s “grassroots.” What probably can be generalized is that members of state central committee — no matter how they hold that membership — are probably more politically aware than the electorate in general, and their reasons for voting as they do are probably more complex than whether or not they call themselves “progressive,” “liberal,” “moderate” or “blue dog.”

  4. Kevin Lynn says

    I stand corrected on my ratio of delegates that are elected and appointed compared to those that are elected by members of the party. When one considers the entire spectrum of those elegible to cast a vote, it is closer to 1/3 electeds and appointed vs. 2/3 elected by party members.

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