Reversing Course, Elk Grove Democratic Club Offers Near Unanimous Endorsement of Bera

March 8, 2016 |

After a club vote in January that made national headlines, tonight the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club reversed course and gave a near-unanimous vote to endorse the reelection of Congressman Dr. Ami Bera (D - Elk Grove).

The vote for Bera came after several wranglings within the Democratic Party that started when the Elk Grove Democratic voted 11-8 against his endorsement. Although Bera was endorsed at last weekend's state convention in San Jose, he also failed to get the Sacramento County party endorsement which required a 60-percent majority.

The vote came last night following a presentation made by Bera to a standing-room-only audience at the club's monthly meeting at the Elk Grove Public Library. In addition to club members, representatives of Democratic Assemblymembers Jim Cooper (Elk Grove) and Ken Cooley (Rancho Cordova) cast proxy votes.

Following Bera's presentation, club Vice President Scott Matsumoto offered a motion to conduct a club endorsement vote at their April meeting. As soon as that motion was made, club member Mike Whiteside offered an impassioned substitute motion to act on the endorsement immediately.

"I say we endorse Dr., Bera now," Whiteside argued. "I say time is of the essence."

Following a floor discussion, the club acted on two motions - one to temporarily suspend endorsement bylaws, and to execute the endorsement vote. A hand count approved the bylaw suspension, and a 31-2 roll call vote of club members affirmed the endorsement.

Much of the anger directed toward Bera came from a group of party members called Sacramento Democrats For Truth. The group, which held its first presentation at the January Elk Grove meeting, was upset with Bera saying he voted on many issues inconsistent with Democratic values.

Following the controversy that erupted regarding Bera's endorsement challenges, Elk Grove Democratic Club President Dan Schmitt wrote an opinion piece defending Bera's candidacy. Schmitt said he felt the group distorted Bera's record using a handful of the over 1,700 votes he cast so as to mislead club members. 

As a second-term Congressman, Bera's last two races against Republican incumbent Dan Lungren and former Congressman Doug Ose were among the most expensive and closest races in the nation. In the 2012 and 2014 races, Bera won by razor thin margins with the outcomes not determined until weeks later. 

This year Bera is again expected to be in a close race against Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. The race is also expected to be heavily influenced by outside money on both sides. 

Following the endorsement proceedings, Sacramento Democrats For Truth member Amar Shergill, who cast one of the two dissenting votes, criticized the proceedings. 

"Tonight, Congressman Bera and the Democratic party establishment took over the Elk Grove Democratic Club, suspended the bylaws and voted without notice," Shergill said. "It's a sad day when Democrats don't trust their own party members enough to hold a fair vote."

Bera left the meeting before the vote was cast and did not immediately return calls or an email inquiry seeking comment. 


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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Although it will probably not matter in his reelection bid, I cannot help but wonder if Mayor Davis regrets his refusal to endorse Dr. Bera.
Most Elk Grove voters could probably care less, but at such time that Mayor Davis seeks higher office, this could hurt him with his own party.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the Elk Grove-South County Democrats have come to their senses!

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