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State Dems Back Butler for 50th Assembly Seat

Opponents say most of Betsy Butler's votes came from delegates indirectly appointed by California Assembly Speaker John Perez. Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, also a candidate, received no votes.

State Assembly candidate Betsy Butler picked up the endorsement of the California Democratic Party this past weekend at the organization's convention in San Diego. But as has been the case for many of the endorsements in the 50th Assembly District contest, this one came with controversy.

Butler, a current Assembly member who represents a South Bay district, received 62 of the possible 85 delegate votes. Rival Torie Osborn, a political activist, had 20 backers and Santa Monica Mayor/California Coastal Commissioner Richard Bloom earned no support. Three delegates voted for no endorsement.

"These numbers represent the heart and commitment of Los Angeles Democrats," said Butler, according to a press release issued by her campaign. "People in my district worked so hard for this. They took me from a solid majority locally to nearly a three-fourth super-majority across the goal line. This was not just a victory for me, it was a victory for their passion and dedication to the work we have done together.”

Osborn supporters looked at the win differently. Several said Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is a Butler supporter, made sure his pick got the victory.

"Thirty-eight of Betsy Butler's votes were handed to her by Speaker John Perez, who had party officials and legislators from outside the new 50th A.D. appoint delegates who lived in the district who were pledged to vote for Betsy," wrote Malibu resident Ted Vaill, one of the delegates at the convention, in an email to Patch.

Osborn's campaign did not immediately respond to Patch's request for comment.

Osborn has received endorsements from several local Democratic clubs, including those in ,  and .

The endorsements from Malibu and West Hollywood-Beverly Hills were controversial because in both cases large numbers of Osborn supporters joined those Democratic groups at the last moment. Detractors said these people did not live in the cities the clubs represented and the new members joined with the sole purpose of getting the endorsements for Osborn. In both cases, checks in excess of $1,000 were submitted to cover the membership dues of all the Osborn supporters joining the clubs.

The 50th District was created last year as part of . It includes Malibu, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, part of Hollywood, Pacific Palisades and Agoura Hills as well as other areas near those cities and neighborhoods.

In addition to the three Democrats, West Hollywood Republican Brad Torgan is in the contest to claim the Assembly seat. The primary election is June 5. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will face off in the general election in November.

Marta Evry February 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Beyond Chron did a good story on the endorsement process: "Here is where State Party rules are not only stacked in favor of incumbents - but give politicians like John Perez an unsavory role in manipulating the outcome. On Saturday, delegates from the 50th Assembly District gathered to make the Party endorsement. Assembly members can appoint up to five delegates, but only three must live in the legislator's district. Therefore, Perez asked all Democratic Assembly members to set aside their two "non-resident" slots - so he can appoint delegates who live in the 50th District, and will vote for Betsy Butler over Torie Osborn. As I walked in to observe the 50th Assembly District caucus on Saturday (as a San Francisco delegate, I could not vote - but I attended to observe), aides for Perez were in full force with clipboards - keeping track of who had shown up to vote for Butler. Aides for other Democratic Assembly members like Fiona Ma had already been working the Convention for the past day, promoting Betsy Butler. This was a well coordinated effort to rig the endorsement, for the Speaker to deliver for one of his members. The Osborn campaign knew they didn't have much of a shot." Full story here: http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=9889#more

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