UPDATE: Eric Bauman has resigned as Chair of the California Democratic Party.
“I have made the realization that in order for those to whom I may have caused pain and who need to heal, for my own health, and in the best interest of the Party…it is in everyone’s best interest for me to resign my position as chair of the California Democratic Party.”
Democrats in San Diego and California certainly have plenty of reasons to feel good about the future, given the results of the 2018 mid-term election results.
The party won contests when they didn’t even like the candidate, as happened with State Board of Equalization where Mike Schaeffer won a seat held by Republicans for decades.
In the Assembly, Democrats now hold the most seats (60) since 1883. Should Sunday Gover prevail in the incredibily tight contest over Brian Maienschein in the 77th, they’ll tie the all-time record. By winning all seven congressional targeted by the party, Democrats now hold 46 of the 53 House seats along with both seats in the U.S. Senate.
In San Diego, the party now holds a super-majority on the City Council. In Escondido, not only was long-time mayor Sam Abed unseated, the council now has a Democratic majority.
Unfortunately the state party is now under a cloud. Eric Bauman, the powerful chairman of the California Democratic Party, has stepped aside pending the results of an investigation following allegations by 10 staffers and 17 other individuals concerning inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, and physical intimidation.
Bauman announced he is seeking treatment for health issues and alcohol abuse.
The Los Angeles Times quoted Allan Acevedo, a political consultant who is active in the youth arm of the party
Acevedo said he also considered speaking out publicly in 2017, when Bauman was engaged in a bitter campaign for the state party chairmanship against Bay Area Democratic organizer Kimberly Ellis. The political clash exposed a growing schism between party factions, fed in part by lingering resentment from the 2016 Democratic presidential primary between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ellis’ backers included a large faction of Sanders supporters, while Bauman had the support of many traditional Democratic Party groups who stood with Clinton.
Hilary Crosby, a former party official, said Acevedo told her that spring that Bauman had put his hands around Acevedo’s neck and threatened him. Lori Saldaña, a former state assemblywoman, said Acevedo told her that spring that Bauman had generally acted inappropriately with him and other young people involved with the party.
Acevedo decided not to go public at the time, in part, he said, because he worried the allegation would be politicized in the midst of a grueling chair’s race. But he said he felt guilty for not coming forward.
San Diego County Democratic party chair Jessica Hayes, along with DNC Western Caucus Chair Jess Durfee are among those who have called for Bauman’s resignation.
Speaking of the County Party, chairwoman Hayes has decided to step down at the end of her term. For the first time since 1994 there are two candidates openly running for the post.
Despite the local party’s winning year, there were serious rifts along the way. The endorsement process left some people shaking their heads. Police were summoned to a Central Committee meeting. The Martin Luther King Democratic club said they were punished for challenging leadership decisions.
On the positive side of the ledger, the party’s canvassing campaigns and internal communications reached more voters than ever before.
The next chair’s job will be to heal the divisions and incorporate the organizational gains from 2018 into a long term strategy.
Activists Craig Roberts and Will Rodriguez-Kennedy appeared before the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action Club on Wednesday night and answered lots of questions… Watch the video here.
Success breeds success…Coming out the success of the Democratic party’s cooperation with activist groups in flipping the 49th Congressional District, organizer Terra Lawson-Remer is now seeking input about declaring for Kristin Gaspar’s District 3 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in District 3 in 2020.
Karma, baby. The 800 pound gorilla in the room for local Democrats is UFCW president Mickey Kasparian’s involvement, which in the past has included substantial financial support.
Following (now settled and sealed) lawsuits concerning sexual misconduct and a decision to form a breakaway labor council in the wake of an AFL-CIO probe into his actions with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the labor leader’s future relationship with the party is going to be an issue.
His attempted derailment of Nathan Fletcher’s candidacy in the primary, a move many suspect was coordinated with the right-wing Lincoln Club, makes Kasparian a pariah for many activists.
The Times of San Diego reports Kasparian is being challenged in a union election by Todd Walters, running as part of a 12 member slate including 9 women.
Secretary-treasurer candidate Grant Tom created a website in support of the group, takingbacklocal135.com.
A little after noon Tuesday, Walters posted an apology on Facebook: “Due to extremely high traffic to our newly released website, our website server crashed.” The site was down only briefly.
The site includes links to media accounts of Kasparian’s legal troubles — cases settled with four women — and a document alleging that $670,000 in union dues was spent on legal expenses defending the longtime president and Democratic power broker.
“Hells Bells” by AC/DC plays in the background of the endorsements page, which contains hundreds of names. The union has about 12,200 members.
Kudos to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher for her amazing efforts on behalf of the Central American refugees languishing in Tijuana.
If you’d like to donate, check out her shopping list. Orders place through this link are delivered directly to the Assemblywoman’s office.
Countdown to The End. Friday, December 14, will mark the end of this version of the San Diego Free Press, along with this column.
I have been asked about my future plans, and the answer is: I’m still figuring it out. So if you or your organization have a niche for my talents, this would be a good time for us to talk. firstname.lastname@example.org