Brown, Feinstein to address Democrats at San Diego convention
California Democrats have a lot to celebrate at their annual party convention in San Diego this weekend. They control every statewide constitutional office and both U.S. Senate seats and are poised to pick up a handful of seats in this year’s congressional elections.
But this year's confab also will be rife with conflict. Gov. Jerry Brown will address the convention Saturday and make his pitch for his ballot initiative to raise taxes on sales and on upper incomes for the next five years.
So far, Brown has been unable to convince two potential rivals -- Democratic attorney Molly Munger and a coalition of labor and progressive grass-roots groups -- to abandon their tax initiatives. Brown has said he wants Democrats and labor to unite behind his proposal out of fear that multiple measures on the same ballot might create voter confusion and imperil all of their chances for passage.
Endorsement fights in a series of legislative and congressional races are expected to be heated, including in two high-profile congressional races that pit incumbent Democrats against each other.
Last year, the state’s legislative and congressional districts were redrawn by an independent commission, throwing dozens of elected officials into political limbo. In the San Fernando Valley, Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are locked in what is expected to be an expensive struggle over a safe Democratic seat. In the new 44th Congressional District, which stretches from South Gate to San Pedro, incumbents Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson are facing off against each other.
California will be pivotal to Democrats’ chances to take back the House this fall. Political analysts say Democrats could pick up from three to six congressional seats in the state alone this fall.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who likely would become speaker if Democrats take back control of the House, will speak to the convention Saturday, as will U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is asking voters to return her to the Senate for a fifth time.
-- Anthony York in Sacramento
Photo: Sen. Dianne Feinstein is scheduled to address the state Democratic Party convention in San Diego Saturday. Credit: Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images