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State Dems Back Butler for 50th Assembly Seat

Opponents say most of Betsy Butler's votes came from delegates indirectly appointed by California Assembly Speaker John Perez.

State Assembly candidate Betsy Butler picked up the endorsement of the California Democratic Party this past weekend at the organization's convention in San Diego. But as has been the case for many of the endorsements in the 50th Assembly District contest, this one came with controversy.

Butler, a current Assembly member who represents a South Bay district, received 62 of the possible 85 delegate votes. Rival Torie Osborn, a political activist, had 20 backers and Santa Monica Mayor/California Coastal Commissioner Richard Bloom earned no support. Three delegates voted for no endorsement.

"These numbers represent the heart and commitment of Los Angeles Democrats," said Butler, according to a press release issued by her campaign. "People in my district worked so hard for this. They took me from a solid majority locally to nearly a three-fourth super-majority across the goal line. This was not just a victory for me, it was a victory for their passion and dedication to the work we have done together.”

Osborn supporters looked at the win differently. Several said Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is a Butler supporter, made sure his pick got the victory.

"Thirty-eight of Betsy Butler's votes were handed to her by Speaker John Perez, who had party officials and legislators from outside the new 50th A.D. appoint delegates who lived in the district who were pledged to vote for Betsy," wrote Malibu resident Ted Vaill, one of the delegates at the convention, in an email to Patch.

Osborn's campaign did not immediately respond to Patch's request for comment.

Osborn has received endorsements from several local Democratic clubs, including those in ,  and .

The endorsements from Malibu and West Hollywood-Beverly Hills were controversial, because in both cases large numbers of Osborn supporters joined those Democratic groups at the last moment. Detractors said these people did not live in the cities the clubs represented and the new members joined with the sole purpose of getting the endorsements for Osborn. In both cases, checks in excess of $1,000 were submitted to cover the membership dues of all the Osborn supporters joining the clubs.

The 50th District was created last year as part of . It includes West Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, part of Hollywood, Pacific Palisades and Agoura Hills, as well as other areas near those cities and neighborhoods.

In addition to the three Democrats, West Hollywood Republican Brad Torgan is in the contest to claim the Assembly seat. The primary election is June 5. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will face off in the general election in November.

Stay up to date on West Hollywood news and events, by following @WehoPatch and “like” on Facebook.

Steve Ward February 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM
@MarkD I never mentioned I did not agree with Duran's political position. As you state, "you can't say that his actions don't match the ideals he strives for." THIS[video] is exactly what concerns me, along with his "actions". As Mayor, even when stepping outside your doorstep, I would hope a person of his position would carry himself better in the public, especially when he not only is there touting his horn, but also damaging respect to our party. Hey, it's what keeps me out of politics and keeps me objective without drinking anyone's juice. Perhaps you may rethink your attack on why I posted this demonstration of the leader of WeHo Council. What? Are you proud and seriously supportive? Sheesh... Pull your head out and maybe be a tad more thoughtful?
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM
So... people who hold largely ceremonial political posts are not permitted to register genuine reactions in the moment. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up for me while you tried to rip me a new one!
Steve Ward February 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Ceremonial? Huh? Didn't realize he was the "Queen". ;-) Seriously though, as Mayor, he should have handled himself better regardless of the passion behind it. That's all. So be it. Relax. There are many folks troubled by this example. If someone freaked out in Chamber, he would have gone off on the person for that kind of outburst, don't you think?
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I think context is important. And contextually, there is a big difference between a governmental body officially in session in a business meeting (on one hand) and a meeting of the local Democratic Club, where more frank discussions are the norm and participants feel more like it is an "in-family" discussion. If I were in charge of the Democratic Club meeting, I'd question the presence of a video camera in the room before I'd question one of the delegates having an emotional outburst.
Marta Evry February 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I am a current constituent of Betsy Butler, and voted for her in the last election. I'm also a lifelong progressive Democrat, a delegate to the California Democratic Party since 2006, a volunteer Regional Field Organizer for the Obama campaign in 2008, and our family has been members of CLCV for longer than the aptly named Mr. Young has been alive. My primary focus this election season isn't AD50, but achieving a 2/3rds majority in the State legislature. We're only 2 seats away in the Assembly and state Senate. If we achieve that, a Republican minority will no longer be able to continue to block the fundamental structural reforms our state needs. Without it, the best we can hope for is triage. My preference had always been to support both Butler and Osborn, but Butler's choice to abandon us in the South Bay made that impossible. But while I support Osborn and would prefer she win in AD50, the reality is this race will in no way shift the balance of power in the legislature. A Democrat will win in AD50 no matter what. However, AD66, the South Bay district Butler left, is a different story. There's a real possibility a Tea Party Republican can win this seat. It's why I cringe when I read this from Mike Young, "CLCV is always working towards achieving and maintaining environmental majorities in the legislature, not Democratic or Republican majorities.", because it betrays his fundamental ignorance of how CA government works and why the state is in crisis.

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