‘Pay’ for an endorsement? L.A.’s Democratic clubs under scrutiny this election cycle
This story is part of a series from LA Weekly. Get full coverage, plus details on the L.A. County Democratic Parties and the California Democratic Party.
LOS ANGELES — “Pay me” is an increasingly prominent refrain at Los Angeles County Democratic party events this election cycle, and it’s in part a response to a voter backlash against the party’s endorsement of former L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina in the June 5 primary.
“I’m just a regular person,” Molina said Tuesday. “And now I feel like the county party is being taken over by people trying to take control of who I am.”
This year, endorsements can mean everything.
The L.A. County Democratic Party decided to endorse former Supervisor Gloria Molina on June 5 despite backlash against her from a number of activists who decried her as not being progressive enough. And the party’s endorsement of former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca — who received little support from party activists — in the race to replace his two-term predecessor, Eric Schaeffer, has drawn ire from his own organization.
But for now, the party’s endorsements are mostly business as usual: a handful of prominent candidates from the past two decades, including Molina, Baca and former city councilmen Gil Cedillo and Jose Huizar.
But in L.A. County politics, endorsements are far more than that. They’re a reflection on how far the party has come.
The party has come a long way since its founding, in 1955. But it has done so with more endorsements than at any time in the past 30 years — a testament to the growth of the field in L.A. County.
Party officials contend that the party’s endorsements not only have an impact on who wins, but who loses — and that’s where the endorsements become a thorny issue. When it comes to endorsing a candidate, the party’s stance on a person or a policy is the only thing that matters. That can create tension with other organizations in the county. The party itself considers itself a member organization that gives endorsements on the basis of who the