Humboldt Progressive Democrats Seek to Pull Delegate Credentials of Elected Democrats Over Their Endorsement of Sundberg
As statewide and local frustration grows with Democratic representatives endorsing non-Democrat candidates, the Humboldt Progressive Democrats unanimously approved a credentials challenge recently sent to the California Democratic Party (CDP). Citing the violation of CDP bylaws prohibiting endorsement of non-Democrats, the letter was signed by Executive Board members Robert Shearer (AD-02), Cullen Tiernan (AD-18 and Veteran’s Caucus Chair), and Tania Bhatia (AD-61). The challenge reads in part:
“It has come to our attention that a number of DSCC members have violated Section 9 Paragraph b of the California Democratic Party State Bylaws by actively supporting a candidate for partisan office in the top two primary who is registered as other than Party Preference Democrat.”
If sustained, the CDP would strip delegate status from US Congressman Jared Huffman, State Senator Mike McGuire, and State Assemblyman Jim Wood. As elected officials, all three are automatically DSCC members, and appoint additional delegates with voting privileges to the Party conventions and other meetings.
Despite repeated meetings and strong opposition from local labor and Democratic representatives, all three electeds publicly endorsed incumbent NPP Ryan Sundberg for Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor over Democratic Party challenger Steve Madrone. The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee also officially endorsed Madrone, as did a majority of the local labor unions, and the Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa tribes.
The challenge clearly describes media coverage of Sundberg’s endorsement and outlines the impact on local electoral politics:
“The endorsement of Sundberg by Huffman, McGuire, and Wood has openly sabotaged the HCDCC and the Democratic local grassroots movement to elect a candidate who truly represents the best interests of the people and resources. This is not the first time that this has happened but we certainly think it should be the last time.
By their endorsement of a NPP candidate, who was a lifelong Republican before registering as NPP to run for Humboldt County supervisor, Huffman, McGuire, and Wood undermined the likelihood of an active Democrat being elected in an extremely important local race by exerting Party influence from well outside a county that any of them have ever lived. They have subverted the very same democratic process that they claim to uphold. Madrone is now hampered in his efforts to unseat an unpopular Humboldt County Supervisor who appears to show favor to those with deep pockets both in and out of the county, state, and country.
We ask that the CDP Credentials Committee take immediate action to remove these delegates in order to prevent them from unfairly intervening in the Democratic endorsement process. They have already made it clear that they support a non-Democrat for the office of 5th District Supervisor of Humboldt County.”
With a highly organized and effective campaign team, Steve Madrone did win by over 100 votes in the final tally. However, Humboldt was the exception. Democratic candidates lost key races in San Diego, Sacramento, and elsewhere to Republicans endorsed by incumbent Democrats. Delegates to this July’s CDP Executive Board meeting repeatedly raised the issue – including testimony at the Rules Committee and during the Progressive Caucus when Officer Liz Lavertu directed her comments to Party Chair Eric Bauman:
“Raise your hand if you had an elected Democrat in your area supporting a Republican in the primary.” [note: at least half the delegates raised hands]. “THIS is the problem with our party right now. If we are not holding our own elected officials to the same standards we are holding our delegates that’s a problem…and maybe we can get our chair to stand up and let’s pass some rules that hold our electeds accountable just like we are.” Full Challenge here.Helene RouvierHPD chair