Last night the Sacramento Convention Center was abuzz with all sorts of politicos vying for support from delegates and others, via the time honored tradition of the “hospitality suite.” With so many open races locally and statewide in the June primary, people were in overdrive to put on the best party possible.
On this, and this alone, there is no doubt that ex dot-commer Steve Westly, who has self-financed his campaign for Governor, had one of the best parties I’ve ever seen. They didn’t just have a big room, no they had a live band, a dance floor, a carving station with huge 65+ lb.. side of beef for sandwiches, discounts on the Convention Center’s overpriced drinks, and a lot of people in orange shirts, custom made for the weekend.
It was a bit much, but the stakes are high. Phil Angelides has to roll a hard six to jump start a campaign that’s fallen behind in the polls in the wake of Westly’s TV ads, and it’s in the form of an endorsement vote today.
He has to get 60% of the delegates to vote for him to get an official CDP endorsement. Now, Phil Angelides is a nice guy, a party loyalist, and a former state Chair, but I think even he knows getting 60% of activists Democrats to agree what time it is, much less on who they should support for Governor, is a little tough.
LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo had a nice party too, in that it featured unlimited free drinks for an hour, and a raffle to win a basketball signed by Magic Johnson. And of course you could see all the politicos from SF and LA wandering the party circuit as well. Fiona Ma even had Star-Trek like t-shirts printed for the occasion.
But overall that weird feeling I mentioned crept up again, and I realized why. Most people voting in the Democratic primary still don’t know who they are going to vote for Governor, much less any of the other offices, and while Democrats term-limited out of the legislature are running very earnest campaigns, polls continue to show most people have no idea who they are, unless they’re been on the ballot before, like , say John Garamendi. So it’s a bit unreal inside the political circles to hear all the talk when just outside I am sure most people in my home neighborhood are virtually unaware of their choices for Lt. Gov., Gov., or even Assembly, despite the signage.
What stood out for me most though was Mayor Gavin Newsom’s speech at the welcoming reception. Once again he fired up the crowd with a really on target speech, basically proclaiming his “Democrat without Apologies” theme he’s used before. It was short, to the point, and unequivocal in stating his very Democratic beliefs.
It is funny how in the confines of San Francisco politics, some on one side of the aisle or city would have you believe all sorts of nastiness about how our Mayor has no beliefs or principles, but watching his speech and his interactions with the delegates, I can say this – you can’t fake this kind of conviction, even if you’re a good actor. And it is interesting that when the Mayor makes these strong, hardcore Democratic/liberal/progressive speeches, the critics on the other side make it a point to ignore it.
Up today: lots of speeches, lots of votes, and caucus death cage matches at 430pm!