California Democrats will meet to choose national delegates

AP News
Posted: Apr 28, 2016 8:42 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While much of the political attention is focused on the California GOP convention this weekend, Democrats are holding meetings around the state to select delegates to the national convention in Philadelphia.

The party business is drawing outsize interest as California's presidential primary — the last in the nation — is relevant for the first time in decades.

Democrats in each of California's 53 congressional districts will hold two caucuses, one each for the party's two presidential hopefuls — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Supporters attending the caucuses will jockey to represent their candidate at the national convention in July.

San Francisco attorney Matt Tuchow said he is among at least 114 people vying to be Clinton delegates from Rep. Nancy Pelosi's congressional district. He said the competition is fierce and it's a challenge to round up voters, who must cast their ballots in person at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

"We're trying to turn out the vote," he said. "I'm on a slate with some super-volunteers, some people who have donated 40 to 80 hours a week doing phone banking for Hillary Clinton."

Amalia Deaztlan, president of the Democratic Women of the Desert in the Coachella Valley, said she has seen tremendous interest by party members in becoming delegates, particularly from young people and Latinos.

"It's very strong. I think that the selection of Republicans and the Republicans that are running has made it something to defeat the other party and the enthusiasm is really, really strong," she said. "It's a stronger sense of responsibility that I see in the people that are getting involved."

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In contrast, Republican candidates each choose who they want to represent them at the party's convention, typically culled from prominent supporters.

The campaign of businessman Donald Trump is winnowing down a long list to submit just three names for each of 53 congressional districts.

"I have about 800 people on the list, there's a lot of people that have been very active with Californians for Trump," said Trump's California campaign manager, Tim Clark.

Both parties also send a contingent of elected officials to the conventions.