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Valley Democrats endorse Torie Osborn for Assembly

January 10, 2012 |  4:57 pm

Longtime community activist Torie Osborn, one of three Democrats running for  a newly drawn, open Assembly seat on the Westside, has added backing from the  Democratic Party of the  San Fernando Valley to her endorsements list.

As candidates in several already-hot elections scramble for advantage, many set their sights on local political clubs, whose endorsements can make a difference in hard-fought races.   That’s what’s  happening in the race for the strongly Democratic 50th Assembly District, where Osborn is competing with two other Democrats, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler of Marina del Rey and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom.

On Sunday, Osborn overwhelmingly won the endorsement of the Malibu Democratic Club following a  forum  featuring all three candidates. Some at the forum, including the club’s president, complained that Osborn had stacked the deck by having her supporters  join the club  to participate in the endorsement vote.

Osborn backers said the vote was fair and reflected her  strong following and solid performance at the forum.   But others, including those who support a competitor, questioned how the vote was conducted.

The controversy shone some light on how some of the clubs operate and how much candidates want their endorsements. 

Some clubs allow anyone who is a registered Democrat to participate in their  candidate-backing  process so long as they join and pay dues within specified times ahead of their endorsement meetings.  So it’s little wonder that candidates try to get their supporters to sign up.

Butler’s campaign, for example, sent supporters a list of upcoming Democratic club elections and urged them to join and to ask their friends to do the same.

Lillian Raffel, president of the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic Club, said her group was flooded with new members  before its endorsement vote, scheduled for Jan. 25.

“We had 45 new members join on Dec. 29,” Raffel said. “ It brought our membership to 245 people. Our rules require membership 25 days ahead of voting.”

All  45  new members’ dues were paid by a single check from an Osborn supporter, Raffel said.

She added the club’s board had split evenly between Osborn and Butler  in recommending an endorsement to members.

The 50th Assembly District includes Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Topanga, Pacific Palisades and other communities in the city of L.A.



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