WatchSonoma Watch

Sonoma County Democrats roll out endorsements


Leaders of the Sonoma County Democratic Party on Tuesday failed to endorse a candidate in the race for the open seat on the county Board of Supervisors.

The party did hand out endorsements for the Democratic incumbents in four state races and one congressional race and also backed a trio of state and local ballot measures.

Party leaders, including 20 voting members of the central committee who were present, couldn’t agree during an evening meeting on who to back in the race for the non-partisan 1st District supervisor’s seat held by retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown.

A subcommittee that interviewed all five candidates recommended an endorsement for Santa Rosa Councilwoman Susan Gorin, said Stephen Gale, chairman of the Sonoma County Democratic Party.

But Gorin fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed gain the central committee’s endorsement. She needed 14 votes and got 12, Gale said.

A subsequent motion to endorse Gina Cuclis, a Boyes Hot Springs communication consultant and longtime central committee member, failed to earn a second, Gale said.

The deadlocked decision followed what Gale described as a “very robust debate” about the 1st District supervisorial field, which also includes Santa Rosa Councilman John Sawyer, Sonoma Valley energy consultant Mark Bramfitt and Keith Rhinehart, a former UPS supervisor from the Santa Rosa area.

Gale said he was not surprised the committee made no endorsement in the race. It reached a similar decision in the tight 2010 race between Healdsburg city council members Mike McGuire and Debora Fudge for the north county supervisor’s seat. McGuire won the election.

Gale said the party likely would endorse a candidate if the race proceeds to a runoff after the June primary.

“It’s a situation where we have a number of strong candidates,” Gale said. “We’re really expecting voters to make the decision in June.”

In state races, the party backed Assembly members Michael Allen in the 10th District, Wes Chesbro in the 2nd District and Mariko Yamada in the 4th District and state Sen. Lois Wolk in the 3rd District.

In the 5th Congressional District race, Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, got the party’s endorsement. It made no endorsement in the 2nd Congressional District, where four Democrats are vying to replace retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey. The local party cannot endorse candidates in state and federal races unless the California Democratic Party endorses them first. None of the four candidates for Woolsey’s seat was able to garner 50 percent of the votes from members at the state party’s pre-endorsement caucus held last month.

On ballot measures, the party in Sonoma County endorsed Measure A, the Sonoma Valley Hospital parcel tax extension. It also backed two statewide measures: Prop. 28, which would modify legislators’ term limits, and Prop. 29, a proposed additional cigarette tax to support cancer research.

10 Responses to “Sonoma County Democrats roll out endorsements”

  1. Eeewww... says:

    @ Grapevines

    You forgot to mention the sleaziest local Dem of all, Michael Allen.

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  2. Central Committee Losers says:

    The majority of “central committee” of the local Democratic Party belong to Norman Solomon’s radical group the “PDA”. They have nothing in common with mainstream Democrats. They hate centrists so it’s a good thing they can’t endorse in the Congressional race.

    These fools endorsed the one Democrat that the Fair Political Practices Commission documented was corrupt and taking bribes: Michael Allen. Since he and the North Bay Labor Council financed most of the local candidates and officeholders with representatives on the committee, the endorsement was bought and paid for.

    Watch out Marin County, machine politics are coming to a voting booth near you!

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  3. Grapevines says:

    Ah the Democrats. They gave us so many good people. Noreen Evans (yuck/barf), Lynn Woolsey (ZZZZZZZ), Pat Wiggins (AHHHYEEEE!!), Nazi Pelosi (hubba-hubba). Such a distinguished track record to fall back on.

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  4. The Oracle says:

    Mr. Gale’s dignified professionalism continues to be the glue that this local party — filled with far too many issue-driven activists — functioning. We at Delphi look forward to the day he steps down.

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  5. Money Grubber says:

    Franklin D. Roosevelt:

    The Press Democrat and its blog operator, TED, are clearly one sided in their viewpoints and allow that to interfere with what could be good journalistic operations.

    Even in the face of bankruptcy back before the New York Times purchased the PD, they refused to drop that bias.

    Now, as the NYT abandons the PD, they still think they can operate a one sided show in a multiple sided world.

    I must admit. I’m going to laugh as they all lose their PD jobs in the near future. They’ll be complaining and moaning about how hard they worked and never once admit what everyone including themselves knows…. they reeked of bias and rammed that bias down our throats.

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  6. jkh says:

    Gina Cuclis is the candidate for the 1st Supv. District to succeed Valerie Brown. A large expanse of the district is unincorporated, in which she has lived for 25 years. Other Supv’s live in Santa Rosa and their constituents have representation from a city council as well as the BOSupv. Vote for GINA. to represent us 26,000 voters– those of us who are represented only by our member of the BOSupv.

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  7. Diana Dodson says:

    Roosevelt and Steveguy- Are you kidding me? The PD is hardly pro democrat, especially in matters of labor. Just read the letters to the editor. As far as the local democratic central committee they are not what I would describe as progressive at all. Don’t need any rude nasty retorts just sayin…

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  8. Too Zaney? says:

    The Democrats didn’t endorse Shirlee Zane for another term?

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  9. Franklin D. Roosevelt says:

    It’s odd that the PD reports the everyday activities of the local Democratic Party–fund raisers, endorsements, etc.– as if they were a matter of public policy and therefore grist for the “Watch Sonoma County” mill. Commenters: If you are not a Democrat, you don’t get an opinion.

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  10. Steveguy says:

    Remember, these are the same ones that endorsed the likes of Noreen Evans.

    I wish that Mike Martini wasn’t run off as he was good. I think he wouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid.

    You HAVE to be the farthest to the left,be easily led, and be a few bulbs short of a chandelier to get an endorsement from them. ( Even frustrated Democrats tell me this)

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