The Latest: Ellis won't concede Democratic chair race

AP News
Posted: May 21, 2017 1:45 AM
The Latest: Ellis won't concede Democratic chair race

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the California Democratic Party convention (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Kimberly Ellis is refusing to concede the race for California Democratic Party chair after party officials said the candidate popular with Bernie Sanders supporters was narrowly defeated.

Ellis said late Saturday her team has "serious concerns about the vote count" and has talked with a lawyer. She says "this race is not over." Ellis did not say what made her question the vote count.

She lost by 62 votes out of nearly 3,000 cast to longtime party insider Eric Bauman. The result was a letdown for Ellis supporters who'd been energized by inaccurate reports on social media that she had won the race.

While both candidates backed Hillary Clinton in last year's contentious primary, Ellis attracted Sanders loyalists with her pledge to save the Democratic party from corporate influence.


9:45 p.m.

A Democrat backed by the party's establishment wing has narrowly defeated an insurgent candidate supported by Bernie Sanders loyalists to be the next California Democratic Party chair.

Eric Bauman's victory on Saturday disappointed activists loyal to Sanders, who stormed local Democratic Party conventions this year to win seats at the convention but came up short in the race for chair.

Bauman is the longtime head of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and vice chair of the state party. He lined up the endorsements of most elected Democrats in California and was widely expected to win handily until Sanders loyalists threw their support behind Kimberly Ellis.

Ellis and Bauman both supported Hillary Clinton in last year's contentious presidential primary, but they differed in their views of the party's role in pushing a liberal agenda.


8:30 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff is calling for unity in the Democratic Party in the face of still-simmering divisions between establishment Democrats and progressive activists looking to push the party to the left.

Schiff was the featured speaker Saturday at the California Democratic Party convention. He says Democrats must repair their party's wounds in order to save the country from what he says are Russian attempts to undermine it.

Schiff was a little-known congressman from Burbank before his position as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee vaulted him to national prominence. He became the face of Democratic demands to get to the bottom of Russian influence in the 2016 election.


4 p.m.

Advocates of government-funded health care for all have repeatedly interrupted speakers at the California Democratic Party's annual convention.

Single-payer health care has fired up the thousands of Democratic activists at the convention in Sacramento on Saturday.

Hundreds of advocates organized by the California Nurses Association stormed into the convention as it began Friday night and shouted down a greeting by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Speeches by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were interrupted on Saturday.

Nursing union director RoseAnn DeMoro warned Democratic officials not to assume activists will stick with them if they oppose single-payer health care.

State party chairman John Burton chastised the rowdy advocates, telling them single-payer is hardly a controversial issue in the Democratic Party and asking them to be courteous.


12:30 p.m.

Elected California Democrats are urging the party's fired-up activists to channel their energy into defeating some of the state's 14 Republican representatives in Congress.

Officials presented California as the epicenter of liberal resistance to Republican President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress on Saturday at the California Democratic Party convention.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris says Californians have an "outsized responsibility to keep up the fight" and called on activists to "hold these Republicans accountable in their districts." Harris is often mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2020.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says the world is counting on California to reject Trump. The candidate for governor says "Democrats do not succeed by playing it safe."


12 a.m.

California Democrats meet Saturday with renewed optimism about their party's chances of adding to their huge majority among the state's 53-member congressional delegation and potentially tipping the balance of power in the U.S. House.

In a state where Democrats are itching to lead the liberal resistance to Trump and the Republican Congress, the party's activists find themselves singularly united behind the goal of stunting the GOP.

But the Democrats are also a party divided, still nursing deep divisions between insurgent supporters of Bernie Sanders and the party's establishment wing.

The divide was on clear display Friday as they opened their annual three-day convention in Sacramento. Activists demanding government-funded health care for all residents stormed into the convention center and interrupted an introductory speech.