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Candidates scramble for endorsements at Democratic Party convention

March 08, 2014|By Jean Merl

Politicking at the California Democratic Party Convention by candidates competing for official endorsements continued Saturday morning after delegate-hunting at a round of parties the night before.

Volunteers started with pep talks and breakfast at "boiler rooms" set up at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and state Sen. Alex Padilla, who are running for state controller and secretary of state, respectively.

With balloting for the party's endorsement scheduled for later in the day, time was running out as the two Los Angeles officeholders and their competitors rushed from one caucus to another, hoping to sway those who would be voting on whom the party should endorse.

State Board of Equalization member Betty Yee didn't have a high-visibility boiler room in her competition with Perez but she had volunteers hoisting signs and cheering on their candidate.

At the standing-room-only Women's Caucus, one nimble Yee advocate managed to slip past a row of blue T-shirt-wearing, sign-waving Perez supporters and position herself -- and her Yee poster -- in full view of the audience. Former Common Cause executive Derek Cressman and state Sen. Leland Yee, who were vying with Padilla for party backing, also made brief pitches at the caucuses.

Leland Yee and Padilla exchanged quick handshakes when they ran into each other en route.

Padilla campaign official Rose Kapolcynski said there was a reason the delegate hunt was so intense ahead of the June 3 primary.

The party's blessing is "particularly important in down-ballot races," in which voters may not know much about the candidates and are looking to the party for guidance, Kapolcynski said.


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