Democrats face choice

first_imgHe noted that Angelides was party chairman in 1992, when the party saw combined victories in California for the presidential race and both U.S. Senate seats. Those at the convention have long memories and are looking for someone who will fight for traditional Democratic values, he said. Angelides, a former party chairman, had been the early front-runner in the race, locking up endorsements from respected party leaders like U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles, but has fallen behind his better-funded rival in recent polls. Party officials hope that even if they don’t agree on an endorsement, Democrats will emerge from the convention united behind at least one common goal – defeating Schwarzenegger. “There is a tremendous amount of energy in taking back the governor’s seat,” said California Democratic Party political director Sam Rodriguez. “We truly believe that we want it back. And we’ll do anything and everything necessary to get that seat back for a Democratic governor.” harrison.sheppard@dailynews.com (916) 446-6723160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“Mr. Angelides will certainly be the odds-on favorite, but I think momentum is clearly shifting our way,” Westly said in a telephone interview. “A lot of the people who went early for my opponent are now looking at dual endorsements. Some of the people who haven’t endorsed are coming our way.” A split or no endorsement “would be a huge victory,” Westly added. Westly’s appeal will include noting that he is a “progressive” Democrat, with a track record that includes protecting the environment, supporting gay marriage and being active in the party for 25 years. Bob Mulholland, senior adviser to the Angelides campaign, remains confident that at the very least, the treasurer will get the most endorsement votes even if he doesn’t reach the “very difficult” to obtain 60 percent threshold. “It will be a good homecoming for Phil Angelides,” said Mulholland, a former strategist for the state party. “Most delegates see Phil Angelides like Bill Clinton – he fights every day for Democratic values and working people.” SACRAMENTO – More than 3,000 Democratic Party activists and elected officials will converge on Sacramento next weekend for the state party’s annual convention, an event that could mark a turning point in the hard-fought governor’s race. The convention gives state Treasurer Phil Angelides a chance to regain some lost ground in his bid for the nomination, while Controller Steve Westly will seek to win over the more hard-core liberal activists by convincing them he is the party’s best hope to take down Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November. Conventional wisdom holds that Angelides, as a former Democratic Party chairman and the more liberal candidate, has a stronger appeal to the grass-roots activists who will show up in big numbers at the convention, while Westly appeals to the more moderate wing. Westly said he sees himself as the underdog to win the party’s official endorsement vote Saturday, and he would be happy if neither candidate breaks the necessary 60 percent threshold. last_img

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