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Candidates Accused of Stacking Endorsements

In the race for the 50th Assembly District—which includes Santa Monica—two candidates accuse one another of telling supporters to join local Democratic clubs to boost their chances of getting endorsed

State Assembly candidate Betsy Butler and her supporters are criticizing opponent Torie Osborn's campaign for recruiting people to join a local Democratic club so they could vote for her in an .

Osborn supporters fired back late Monday, calling Butler's camp hypocrites. They say Butler's campaign has also encouraged people to "join as many of the Dem clubs as possible" through a mass email.

Butler told Patch that the two situations are different because nobody has offered to pay for her supporters to join the organizations. One person submitted a $1,000 check last month to the Malibu Democratic Club to cover the expenses of about 40 Osborn supporters' memberships, club President Jean Goodman told Patch.

On Sunday, Osborn —which includes Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Augora Hills—after receiving 41 votes following a Malibu Democratic Club forum featuring the three Democratic candidates. Five people chose Butler, none picked Richard Bloom and 13 club members wanted there to be no endorsement. 

"The thing that's most concerning here is that one person wrote a check for 42 members," Butler told Patch on Monday. "How hard is it to join a club if somebody's writing the check for you?"

Goodman has declined to name the person who submitted the check. She said the name would be revealed when the club files its next financial report with the California Secretary of State's Office.

When asked by Patch about this issue on Sunday, Osborn said her campaign "organized some people to either re-up [their memberships] or join," but said she personally had nothing to do with it.

Several Osborn supporters forwarded the email from Butler's campaign to Patch. 

The email states, "Join as many of the Dem clubs as possible (for most of the clubs, the only requirement to join is that you be a registered Democrat. For instance, you do not necessarily need to live in the Pacific Palisades to join the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club ) ... Ask as many friends as you can to also join and attend as many Dem clubs as possible."

Osborn supporter Dante Atkins, who is a vice chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, wrote to Patch, "the complaints from Betsy Butler's surrogates about the Malibu Democratic Club endorsement process are the height of hypocrisy."

Butler is a current member of the Assembly. She represents most of the South Bay in the 53rd district.

Marta Evry January 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Congratulations to Torie Osborn for winning yet another endorsement vote last night - the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley (DP/SFV), an umbrella group representing 27 Democratic clubs. It'll be hard for Butler's campaign to spin this win as "vote stacking" since DP/SFV makes it impossible add new members before an endorsement vote.

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