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Dems give no endorsement for Woolsey successor

By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

State Democratic Party regional delegates who met in Santa Rosa Saturday could not agree on which candidate to endorse to succeed outgoing Rep. Lynn Woolsey.

That means no candidate in the 2nd Congressional District primary race will benefit from mailers and other advertising paid for by the state party.

Delegates who supported candidates other than money-raising and endorsement leader, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of an Rafael, characterized the non-decision as a victory for both voters and the trailing contenders.

“In the primary in June, the people … will get to decide who advances, the Democratic party will not have a say in that,” said Alice Chan of Sebastopol, a delegate who cast her vote for Marin activist and author Norman Solomon.

Huffman, who is seen as the Democratic establishment candidate, collected 48 percent of the delegate votes, shy of the 50 percent he needed to win the endorsement.

Solomon, who has positioned himself as Woolsey’s ideological successor, gathered 28 percent of the delegates.

Of the race’s 11 candidates, only four earned votes at Saturday’s meeting at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall.

Besides Huffman and Solomon, they were San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson, a late entry with no political background, and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams.

She got 9 percent of Saturday’s vote, and Lawson 1 percent.

Other delegates, who because of party structure and residence didn’t take part in the 2nd District endorsement vote, said the action may resonate more with party activists.

“It means a lot to us, but ultimately … it depends very much on the campaign and how the candidates are connecting with the voters,” said Caroline Banuelos, of Santa Rosa, a 5th District delegate.

“It makes any debates much more important for the next tier of candidates,” said Sonoma State University political scientist David McCuan.

It may also boost candidates who can now “point to the lack (of an endorsement) to indicate that they are still viable,” he said. “It allows them to raise some money that may still be sitting on the sideline.”





29 Responses to “Dems give no endorsement for Woolsey successor”

  1. In his January 9, 2012 comment on Michael Halliwell’s giving Republican-leaning voters an alternative to Dan Roberts, Teddy R. argued that driving Halliwell out of the race “will be a great test for how functional and sane the Republican party is.” In his January 23, 2012 comment on Stacey Lawson’s substituting campaign financing for political credentials, Teddy R calls attention to “the lame brochure her campaign was passing around” at the Democrats endorsing caucus. Teddy R continues; “Seriously, this is the best she can do?! Sometimes money can’t buy you love (or votes).” Does Teddy R. still believe that only Democrat-leaning voters in the 2nd CD deserve a choice in the June Primary?

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  2. In “Dems give no endorsement for Woolsey successor” (January 22, 2012 Press Democrat) Jeremy Hay notes:

    State Democratic Party regional delegates who met in Santa Rosa Saturday could not agree on which candidate to endorse to succeed outgoing Rep. Lynn Woolsey. That means no candidate in the 2nd Congressional District primary race will benefit from mailers and other advertising paid for by the state party.

    Delegates who supported candidates other than money-raising and endorsement leader, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of an Rafael, characterized the non-decision as a victory for both voters and the trailing contenders.

    “In the primary in June, the people … will get to decide who advances, the Democratic party will not have a say in that,” said Alice Chan of Sebastopol, a delegate who cast her vote for Marin activist and author Norman Solomon.

    Huffman, who is seen as the Democratic establishment candidate, collected 48 percent of the delegate votes, shy of the 50 percent he needed to win the endorsement. Solomon, who has positioned himself as Woolsey’s ideological successor, gathered 28 percent of the delegates.

    Jeremy Hay’s 1/22/12 Press Democrat report notes that Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams was supported by 9% of delegates and that Stacey Lawson (a well financed late entry with no political background) was supported by only 1%. The other 14% of delegates voted for the party to remain uncommitted.

    Campaign fundraising and spending reports for 2011 became available on January 31, 2012, and were analyzed in Guy Kovner’s 2/1/12 Press Democrat article. “Money pours in to North Coast congressional race.” Kovner’s report shows that except for $110,000 in LOANS to his own campaign (only $7,000 of which was actually spent by the FEC reporting date) Dan Roberts’ fund raising was only $3,851 (well short of the $5,000 FEC reporting threshold).

    When Dan Roberts pledged to spend $400,000 of his own money to claim one of the top two slots in the primary (in “Burton’s Ghost” – an August 25, 2011 blog posted on Roberts’ website) he had been an announced candidate for two weeks and 285 days remained before the June 5, 2012 primary election. By the time 48% of the available pre-primary time had elapsed, Roberts had spent less than 2% of the pledged $400,000 on his campaign (and contributions received added up to less than 1%).

    Postscript:

    In his January 9, 2012 comment on Michael Halliwell’s giving Republican-leaning voters an alternative to Dan Roberts, Teddy R. argued that driving Halliwell out of the race “will be a great test for how functional and sane the Republican party is.” In his January 23, 2012 comment on Stacey Lawson’s substituting campaign financing for political credentials, Teddy R calls attention to “the lame brochure her campaign was passing around” at the Democrats endorsing caucus. Teddy R continues; “Seriously, this is the best she can do?! Sometimes money can’t buy you love (or votes).” Does Teddy R. still believe that only Democrat-leaning voters in the 2nd CD deserve a choice in the June Primary?

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  3. Paid political announcement says:

    “This is why these forums are so pointless” says “Demosthenes”.

    Yet the North Bay Labor Council pays its staff to monitor, write, argue, defame and generally use this site to stir things up for the past two years.

    Maybe “Demosthenes” should stop wasting her members hard earned money on “pointless” forums.

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  4. Stacy Lawson Who? says:

    @ Oracle

    A couple weeks ago I received an email explaining that Stacy Lawson was brought to us by the developer interests backing the proposed casino in Rohnert Park. She has raised a substantial amount of money for someone who has never run for or held office before, is there a connection?

    What I’ve read in recent days is she is a relatively recent resident of Marin County.

    Perhaps she should be asked to disclose her tax returns so voters can see if she has any conflicts of interest.

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  5. The Oracle says:

    Let’s see, an articulate state legislator with a reputation for not working well with his legislative peers? An articulate and principled author with a reputation for not working well with his own party? An articulate and community-minded business woman with a reputation for working well with others? Too bad few of us heard the name Stacey Lawson until the last couple months?

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  6. Ted Appel says:

    I have publicly answered a question asking how our website automatically assigns icons to each commenter. In case you missed it, here’s a link:

    http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/2010/10/washington/guest-opinion-judd-pd-editorial-misstates-my-position/#comment-24986

    Ted Appel
    WSC Moderator

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  7. Demosthenes says:

    Just a bit of housekeeping.

    This is why these forums are so pointless. “Mark Sistnot”, “Teddy R.”, “Spartacus” and “Samwise” are all the same person. Ted should be able to verify this for us, even though it’s been discussed at length on these forums how the symbol next to your name is assigned to each computer.

    If you’re going to try to sway voters using technology, at least understand how it works first.

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  8. Samwise says:

    I wonder why Solomon and his flacks spend so much time attacking Huffman? At some point he needs to think about the other candidates who are going to give him a run for the #2 spot. It may feel good to the righteous progressives, but people don’t like attack politics. It might peel a few votes from Huffman but it will also hurt Solomon himself. He runs the risk of paving the way for Adams or Lawson to make the runoff.

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  9. Sparticus says:

    @Truth Teller – maybe people who don’t know any better will buy that spin, but informed Dems understand that this caucus vote was all about the grassroots/activist base of the party. It’s members of clubs and central committee. The hard core left. The people Solomon has been bragging will lift him to victory. It was the biggest home court advantage he’ll ever have. And Solomon lost badly. The arrogance and swagger of Solomon and his ultra-progressive/green supporters is starting to meet reality. There is an outside chance Solomon makes the runoff, but there is exactly zero chance this guy ever serves in Congress.

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  10. Loyal Democrat for Solomon says:

    I’m a lifelong Democrat who endorsed Solomon – who is also a registered Democrat and was an Obama delegate in 2008. I find it amusing that some feel the need to attack progressive Democrats who are supporting Solomon. I have never voted Green and in fact agree that the right course is to work within the Democratic party to fight….as Paul Wellstone famously said, for the Democratic-wing of the Democratic party.

    Let’s face it. What we have seen since the election of JImmy Carter is a Democratic party that has moved further and further to the right. Our political “center” now isn’t between left and right, it’s between right and far-right. The politics of capitulation have continued to embolden the Republican party to the point that many mainstream Democrats have (knowingly or not), turned their back on liberalism.

    I am supporting Solomon because I want to send a strong progressive voice to succeed Lynn Woolsey. He is a Democrat. He was a Green. So what? As Democrats, we should be happy to bring more people in who are committed to Democratic principles – Solomon is one of those people. He is a strong liberal in the tradition of FDR and Paul Wellstone. Many Democrats, especially in this district, have grown very frustrated with the party that often caves to the right. I have never voted for a Green because I’m a pragmatist who believes it’s far better to help steer the Democratic party back to it’s liberal traditions, than to split the votes and lose to a Republican. I voted in every election since Dukakis and have supported Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama. Those who voted for Nader in 2000 made a huge mistake in my opinion. That said, I think it is smart for former Greens and liberal Democrats to work together to influence policy and election outcomes. There’s nothing new here – we have a long history of third-party candidates fighting the status quo then working within a major party to create results. Teddy Roosevelt is a perfect example of this.

    Solomon has committed to supporting Obama again – even while stating he does not always agree with his policies. I don’t either. I think Obama should have pressed harder for a public option. I think Obama should have pressed harder for rolling back the Bush tax cuts. That doesn’t mean I don’t love Obama, I just feel he needs more members of Congress to help push a more progressive agenda. We need strong voices in Congress who are willing to stand up for principles, even when the President is choosing a different course. That’s called representation and that’s a good thing. If that helps to avoid what happened in 2000 by bringing more former greens and/or progressive Democrats into the fold, that’s great. The Democratic party is a big tent. There’s no reason to tell former Greens they can’t work with Democrats to make our party stronger – and more committed to the progressive values most Democrats in our district embrace. The reason many went Green is they felt the establishment Democratic party had capitulated far too much.

    In fact, this is true. It was Carter (who I love, don’t get me wrong) that advanced deregulation – that made it easier for Reagan, Clinton, and Bush to continue this. Every time Democrats adopt Republican ideas, Republicans than work harder to move further to the right. Just a few years ago Republicans embraced cap and trade. Democrats worked with them and compromised. They reached across the aisle and had their arms chewed off. Now, you can’t even find a Republican candidate for President who accepts Global Warming….or even Evolution for that matter. And cap and trade (originally advanced by George Bush senior’s administration as a “free-market” solution for lowering emissions), is now considered a socialist boogeyman by the current Republican party. In fact, we should be far more concerned about Republicans posing as Democrats than former Greens joining and/or returning to the Democratic party to bring us back to Democratic principles. At the end of the day, it’s about what policies we want to advance. Norman is in step with a great number of progressive Democrats in this district and he is well deserving of our support.

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  11. @Huffman Lackey says:

    The people claiming Huffman isn’t Liberal (or sane for that matter) are the ones who oppose hi radical and regressive push to increase gas taxes on a Congressional District with no good mass transits system. He wants to make traveling to work, school, and other important places so expensive no one in the 99% can afford it!

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  12. IndieVoter says:

    Banafsheh Akhlaghi is also running although the PD has forgotten to mention that. I’m just saying…

    http://banafshehakhlaghiforcongress.org/

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  13. Truth Teller says:

    What’s fascinating about this story is that the anointed candidate of the Democratic Establishment failed to get 50% support from the activist base of the Democratic Party.

    It’s really stunning that a three-term incumbent with the backing of Members of Congress, fellow state legislators, the Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and party hacks in the state couldn’t inspire much confidence or excitement at the local level.

    Could it be that the base of the Democratic Party is sick of being told who to support? Nationally this mirrors the Republican race for President. Romney is the favorite of the Establishment but actual voters are turned off and looking for other alternatives.

    It’s all very interesting to watch…

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  14. Jessica says:

    The only people on earth claiming Jared Huffman is not a “liberal” are the radicals supporting Solomon. Solomon just trys on a new label for himself he thinks will serve as good “spin” but Huffman’s record has already been evaluated and he scores 100% on issues liberals care about.

    Legislative scorecard
    Capitol Weekly, California’s major weekly periodical covering the state legislature, publishes an annual legislative scorecard to pin down the political or ideological leanings of every member of the legislature based on how they voted on an assortment of bills in the most recent legislative session. The 2009 scores were based on votes on 19 bills, but did not include how legislators voted on the Proposition 1A (2009). On the scorecard, “100″ is a perfect liberal score and “0″ is a perfect conservative score. [3],[4]

    On the 2009 Capitol Weekly legislative scorecard, Huffman ranked as a 100, along with eight other Democratic members of the state assembly.[5]

    100% is not enough for the Solomon supporters because apparently they are neither “liberals” nor “democrats.” I think it’s on them to explain what positions Solomon takes that makes him different from the others in the race and defend those.

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  15. John Parnell says:

    Perhaps the PD could address the voting irregularities that apparently took place? One of the delegates told me that her vote for Solomon disappeared before the tally, along with a few others.

    She said that everyone voted on a piece of paper with their name on it. They then left them on a table during the voting process – a table for each open seat. She had also brought a few votes from delegates who couldn’t make it. She knew they were all for Solomon, as she had made copies.

    She said right before the vote ended, she double-checked, and her vote, along with the others she had brought, had completely disappeared from the table. She had made photocopies though, and those sufficed for the tally.

    (I should say that I wasn’t there myself, and am just sharing what I heard from a very credible source. And I am not a Solomon supporter, just someone who supports honest elections.)

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  16. Teddy R. says:

    Lawson’s weakness is shown not only from her invisible showing in the Dem party vote, but also the lame brochure her campaign was passing around. She features 2 endorsements/quotes on the piece: Alex Rooker, who lives in Sacramento and is entirely unknown to people in this district; and Erin Carlstrom, who is the wife of her campaign consultant Nick Caston. Seriously, this is the best she can do?! Sometimes money can’t buy you love (or votes).

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  17. Demosthenes says:

    Before voters even look at the candidates, they should think long and hard about what they think their Representative should be.

    If they want an activist, similar to Woolsey’s pedigree, Solomon is going to be your top candidate.

    If you would like a legislator, Huffman is the clear choice.

    If you want a manager for oversight purposes, Adams has the most experience in that role.

    If you want a “business” candidate, that’s clearly Lawson.

    I’m weary of Lawson because she doesn’t have a track record for us to follow. I also suspect Adams knows she’s going to lose this race but is using it for a bump in her odds of a Supervisorial election and to keep her name out there.

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  18. Charlie says:

    DINO–Democrat in Name Only–has a new meaning. These days it’s Norman Solomon.

    He registered as a Green Party member in 2004 and wrote about it in a column that is published online saying:

    This morning I mailed a form changing my party registration
    from “decline to state” to the Green Party. It’s a tiny individual step in response to a hugely important collective action — the party’s decision at its national convention to nominate David Cobb for president.”

    http://dissidentvoice.org/June04/Solomon0629.htm

    Solomon also stated in 2003:

    “I’m a green. “
    By now, it’s an open secret that Ralph Nader is almost certain to run for president again next year. Nader has been a brilliant and inspirational progressive for several decades. I supported his presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. I won’t in 2004.”

    http://socialistworker.org/Featured/Election2004.shtml

    Why the charade?

    Apparently it is part of a Green Party strategy which Solomon contributed to in 2006. See “Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate”

    http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Politics-Green-Strategy-Debate/dp/1931859302

    Solomon is a fraud mislabeling who he is because it he ran for office honestly as a member of the Green Party he’d get the same .50 percent of the vote the other Green Party candidates get.

    Who’s funding this charade? Not people in this area. The same crowd that wrote checks to the Nader campaign.

    Remember Solomon himself wrote that he was a Green, so when he runs for Congress as Democrat he’s a fraud.

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  19. Cynthia R. says:

    Who is Stacey Lawson? Here are a few interesting facts I’ve found out:

    1. She’s only lived in the district for two years. She moved to San Rafael from San Francisco to run for this seat.

    2. She’s part of the 1%. She made millions in the tech industry as a “consultant” and claims to have created “thousands of jobs” but she never says where. India, perhaps?

    3. She has a spotty voting record. Over the past ten years she has not voted in several elections, including most midterm elections until she decided to run.

    I’m sure Stacey is a nice person and is sincere about creating jobs. But if she’s been so successful in the private sector, perhaps she should stay there and create “thousands” of more jobs. We could sure use them.

    She should leave the importance of governing to someone with an actual track record of success. There are only two candidates in the race that qualify: Jared Huffman and Susan Adams.

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  20. NoQuarters says:

    Hey PD I see ya ran out of ink so I’ll help ya out

    Republicans are Mike Halliwell of Cotati and Dan Roberts of Tiburon

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  21. Sam Mosely says:

    Sorry, this was a big loss for Jared Huffman. He should have easily gotten the required 70%. The fact that he didn’t get the endorsement says a lot about how much Solomon’s grassroots campaign is resonating in the district. The “Dem Inisder” mentality is part of the problem. A lot of Progressives are tired of the lackluster performance by Democrats and want more, especially in a district as liberal as this one. Huffman comes off as too conservative and middle of the road. Most of us don’t want another Mike Thompson. In fact we wish Thompson would hurry up and retire or someone would run against him. Mr Solomon is doing pretty well in a crowded field. Big loser besides Huffman was Stacey Lawson. She raised a lot of money but can’t seem to get any traction. 2 votes? That is very disappointing.

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  22. David J. Spencer says:

    I just Googled Stacey Lawson to find out more about her and her credentials are impressive. She has an A.B. in Chemical Engineering & an MBA from Harvard University, teaches at U.C. Berkeley, and runs a successful business. On those facts alone she looks to be a most viable candidate, and I am looking forward to listening to what she has to say on the issues in the upcoming months.

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  23. brenda says:

    Most “Progressives” are former Green Party members who joined the Democratic Party “to change if from within.”

    Ms. Chan and those who voted for Mr. Solomon are former Green Party members.

    They are changing it from within all right by being intolerant of anyone who does not share their “Progressive” views. How is intolerance progressive, liberal or even humane?

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  24. @Mark Sistnot says:

    Thank you for the actual tally and the analysis.

    You are spot on.

    The PD quotes Alice Chan who is actually one of the Solomon plants. Chan has been on the Solomon exploratory committee and helping to run the Solomon campaign as a volunteer and a major donor and is one of the ringleaders of the “PDA” in Sonoma County which is the group of Nader/Green Party activists led by Solomon that decided to take over the local Democratic Party a couple years ago. So naturally she is happy the Democratic Party “will not have a say”. Right. Fake democrats like Norman Solomon and Alice Chan will have a say and an opportunity to confuse the voters. But I agree with you that Solomon is the biggest loser because he has been claiming he had far more support than he really has since 2008. He lied to dozens of activists about having Woolsey’s endorsement and union support. They don’t. Who really does support Solomon? The Green Party and a handful of democrats who don’t know or care about his radical background. He’s spent his entire adult like attacking the very party he seeks to represent in Congress now. How come the Press Democrat is covering up Solomon’s past?

    As for Supervisor Adams, she is also a solid choice and a known quantity. She’s been vetted and has a real record. She’s an authentic democrat and deserves the support of women.

    As for Assemblyman Huffman, he is a solid choice and a known quantity with a real record of an authentic democrat and deserves the support of people who are actually registered as Democrats.

    As for Lawson, like Solomon she is raising money and campaigning for Congress as her first try at public office. There has been no vetting so who knows who she is?

    Voters need more information than just the “horse race” but that’s what we’re getting from the PD.

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  25. 2020vision says:

    Lefty tree-hugging progressive type here.

    A significant portion of huffman’s donations have some from sources that typically support conservative Republican candidates. The man is a puppett who desires to be a professional politician. They know that he will bow to whoever pays his way to the dance. He is a DINO – Democrat In Name Only. No surprise at all that he didn’t receive a majority of votes. He doesn’t deserve it.

    Adams has an endorsement from Ami Dutra, although she has said it doesn’t mean anything. Yeah right. If it walks like a duck…

    Norman Solomon is a breath of fresh air to me. I do believe that unlike any of the others (or woolsey herself) he has the ability to actually achieve good things for his constiuents. My vote’s going to him.

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  26. Chris says:

    At the meeting, Lawson was the most impressive of the candidates. Her support for middle class jobs and lack of involvement in the petty bickering between the other candidates was very impressive. I don’t know where the PD get off saying Huffman is the fundraising leader, in the last quarter Lawson out raised him and didn’t take a single dime from corporations like Huffman’s Chevron money.

    Solomon is good on international issues and Adams is impressive on local issues, but Lawson will have my support because I am most concerned about someone who can work on the economic issues with credibility.

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  27. truth in news says:

    I just hope the people wake up and elect a REPUBLICAN!

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  28. Mark Sistnot says:

    Some observations from an insider about this Dem party vote…

    First, Solomon’s supporters can’t seriously call this a “victory.” He got trounced after spending 2 years working to stack Dem central committees and clubs with loyal supporters in hopes of getting the party endorsement. Bad day for Solomon.

    Second, Huffman notes on FB that he got more votes than all other candidates combined which is true. I’m sure he would have preferred to wrap the race up with an official party endorsement, but this is still a decent outcome for him. It shows Huffman is ahead not only in fundraising and endorsements, but in actual grassroots support. Huffman may be running far enough ahead of other Dems to secure a runoff with the Republican in the fall.

    Third, if this is a “woman’s seat” as some contend, the most serious woman candidate is clearly Adams who has held office and at least has some base of support. Despite some buzz from pundits about Lawson’s wealth and newness, she presents a very weird combination of Harvard MBA millionaire/no political or community service/just moved to district/didn’t even vote until recently (I’m told)/and sudden ultra-progressive rhetoric including a contrived raised-in-a-trailer narrative which doesn’t square with her designer clothing and personal/family wealth. She’s pleasant and smart enough, but her weak showing in this vote is pretty revealing and I doubt that any amount of money could make her a contender. The question is whether Lawson’s campaign will prevent Adams from growing more support among women.

    Here is the final tally from the caucus voting (including and handful of provisional votes):

    Huffman 69, Solomon 41, Adams 12, Lawson 2, No Endorse 19.

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  29. Downloaded says:

    The curse of a Woolsey endorsement will not hover over the liberal cast of actors trying out for the lead in the 2nd District.

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