California Democratic Party State Convention, November 17-19

By Connie Sullivan —

You’ve probably heard by now that the state party convention was one for the history books. (We’ll get back to that later). But all the necessary work was completed in full and on time.

The convention started uneventfully on Friday when several standing committees and caucuses met, credentialling opened, and late-night hospitality suites went forward without incident.

Saturday is always the day when they hold two general sessions for all delegates.  In the morning session we heard from various elected officials including Attorney General Rob Bonta, State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas.  

In the afternoon we were scheduled to hear from the four candidates for U.S. Senate.  The first was Katie Porter, who, like all four candidates, was interviewed by two questioners.  Towards the end of her interview, a large group of credentialed protesters came to the front of the arena and began shouting “cease-fire now”.  After some time, they went back to their seats and the process started over again with Adam Schiff. The protesters repeated their protest at the end of his interview and then went back to their seats.  The same thing happened with Barbara Lee’s interview, but the protesters also yelled support for Lee, who ended by repeating their demand of “cease-fire now”.  The final candidate was Lexi Reese.   Near the end of her interview, before the last question, the protesters were joined by another group from outside, who were not credentialed and carried a loud sound system and didn’t stop until the session was closed by Chair Rusty Hicks.

This convention was the endorsing convention for the 2024 elections, so at 4:00 pm on Saturday the electronic voting began.  At around 5:30 pm a large group of protesters literally broke into the convention center by pushing through a side glass door and forcing their way into the facility, jamming it up and not allowing delegates to pass.  The center was locked down and no one could enter or leave.  Planned caucuses and the ticketed event called Vote Fest (for which some delegates had paid $150 each) were cancelled, as were hospitality suites.  Since the voting was electronic, it moved forward. The voting window closed at 7:00 pm.  Initial results of the election for the Senate seat were:

U.S. Senate (2024 – 2030 Term)

Candidate Votes Percentage
Katie Porter 373 16.06%
Adam Schiff 933 40.18%
Barbara Lee 963 41.47%
Lexi Reese 3 0.13%
No Endorsement 50 2.15%

Sunday’s general session was low-key and quiet and ended after only one hour.   We heard from state party officers – Chair Rusty Hicks, Vice Chairs Betty Yee and David Campos, Controller Carolyn Fowler, and Secretary Diana Love. The main business of the convention culminated with the passage of the consent calendar of endorsed candidates and the platform by unanimous consent.

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