More than a few people I know have asked me just what is this “DCCC” they keep getting mailers, emails, and the like as we approach the primary. Sifting through the pros and cons of so many candidates is not easy, especially if it’s not clear why it is a) someone is running for it b) why someone is running for it when the job does not pay and c) why they have to run and get elected by the voters at all.
The Democratic County Central Committee is the official party organization for the County of San Francisco. (For the record, there is also a Republican County Central Committee as well, which also has many candidates running and sending out mail – there’s just not as many Rs in SF as there are D’s, that’s all). Now, this in and of itself is somewhat interesting to those in politics, but it can make a difference, particularly with registering new voters and getting them out to vote. In addition to the elected members from both Assembly districts, Democratic elected officeholders also have a seat on the committee as well.
The DCCC can make endorsements, which are the Official Word of the Democratic Party in SF, and can raise money to distribute mail, literature, register voters, and so on. It is not a very glamorous job, nor is it one that the public gets to see. But having seen both totally moronic and totally effective local parties, and the impact they can have, I can safely say having one that at least gets people to vote and makes sure to register new voters as people move here is the least they can do.
This year has an unusual wrinkle, in that several elected officials (termed out Sups. Peskin and McGoldrick, and current Sup. Chris Daly) are running for a job that is usually held by party activists, and not professional politicians. Likewise, several people hoping to serve on the Board of Supervisors after this fall’s elections (Emily Drennen, Eric Mar, David Campos, David Chiu, Eric Quezada) are running this year. David Chiu is unique in that he currently serves the unexpired term of the late Sue Bierman, and is running as an incumbent.
In addition to these “celebrity” candidates, there are incumbent DCCC members running, as well as new people who want to get involved. The argument made by Daly and company is that electing people like him and his cohorts who a) have name ID and b) can raise money and have “experience” can help make the DCCC more powerful, and more (ahem) progressive.
The counter-argument is that while such points may be the case, the DCCC has traditionally been the place for the citizen activist to get their first chance to get involved in politics, and perhaps run for office later on. Having professional politicians pushes them to the back of the bus, so to speak, and may mean for a DCCC that is more like the Board of Supervisors.
Which view is right? I don’t know, I can see both sides, frankly. However, I would wonder what would be the impact of having a significant number of currently serving board members (with all the work that entails) also serving concurrently as members of the DCCC.
We’ll see what happens when voters have their say in June. Until then, read read read all that mail and be sure to vote!
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