Three months after Eric Bauman was elected chair of the California Democratic Party on May 20, his main rival, Kimberly Ellis has still refused to concede.
Ellis’ final appeal through the party’s by-laws was denied on Aug. 20, by the party’s credentials committee, which underwent a painstaking and thorough review of 355 questionable convention ballots and concluded Bauman won by 1.9 percent of the vote.
“California is and must remain the Big Blue Beacon of progress and opportunity for every person in our country. With the conclusion of the Credentials Committee hearing today, it is my hope that our entire California Democratic Party family can move forward on making progress on these urgent and pressing issues, free from the distraction of costly litigation and needless division,” Bauman, who’s gay, said in a statement.
Ellis, however, appears unwilling to put party over her complaint and threatens to keep fighting, regardless of the cost. The Bay Area Democrat with “Berniecrat” followers insists that the internal strife that mirrors the primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is necessary to change the party and thus win elections in 2018.
“Today was yet another missed opportunity for us to get the Democratic Party back on track,” Ellis said in a statement. “As we’ve said from the onset, we were committed to going through the internal process before deciding what’s next. We’re now soliciting feedback from key supporters and deciding where we go from here.”
Ellis added: “As of now, all options are on the table — with some feeling more inevitable than ever.”
Unsolicited advice was offered on Aug. 18 by many in the LGBT community who think the California Democratic Party needs to focus on challenges to the supermajority in the State Legislature with Sen. Josh Newman, who was the deciding vote in car and gas tax hikes, facing a recall election in either November or December led by San Diego Republican gay activist Carl DeMaoi.
Additionally, Equality California, which recently opened an office in Washington D.C., is among a slew of organizations particularly concerned about protecting hard-won LGBT rights threatened by the Trump administration that called on Ellis to concede.
Their open letter is a partisan plea:“We call on Ms. Ellis to move beyond the divisive threats of more legal action and work together with Eric C. Bauman, the first openly gay Chair of the California Democratic Party, to protect marriage equality, transgender rights, and finally achieve full civil rights for the LGBTQ community.”
Open message to Kimberly Ellis from California LGBTQ Leaders:
“California’s LGBTQ community needs a united and energized Democratic Party to lead the resistance to the hateful policies coming from the Trump/Pence/Sessions administration, including opposition to the meanspirtied and backwards policy on transgender soldiers recently announced via twitter. The acts of white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend show just how much is at stake.
“To that end, we are deeply concerned that Kimberly Ellis’ prolonged, costly legal battle whether it is in the court room or in binding arbitration, will drain the California Democratic Party of the focus and resources needed to combat Trump’s hate and defend California’s values of inclusion and opportunity.
“We certainly respect Ms. Ellis’ right to challenge the outcome of the Chair election under the bylaws of the Party, and she has availed herself of every option. Following the process established before the May vote, the Party has conducted an exhaustive, transparent, audit of the ballots and given Ms. Ellis ample opportunity to present evidence to support her challenge.
“Having failed to present any facts that would change the outcome of the vote, her threats to drag the Party into court or a lengthy arbitration process demonstrate a desire to put one person’s agenda ahead of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and other Californians who are counting on the Party to represent their voices.
“We must be united in facing down the unprecedented threats this hostile White House poses for our civil rights as LGBTQ Americans. We call on Ms. Ellis’ to move beyond the divisive threats of more legal action and work together with Eric C. Bauman, the first openly gay Chair of the California Democratic Party, to protect marriage equality, transgender rights, and finally achieve full civil rights for the LGBTQ community.”
Stonewall Democratic Club
Stonewall Young Democrats
Denise Penn, Co-Chair, California Democratic Party LGBT Caucus
Eddie Martinez, Executive Director, Latino Equality Alliance & Mi Centro
Oscar De La O, CEO, Bienestar Social Services
Richard L. Zaldivar, Executive Director/Founder, The Wall Las Memorias
Vince Wong, Community Engagement Chair, Christopher Street West
On Friday, the Chairs of the National Democratic Party congratulated Bauman: