(photo by Brandon Wise)

MAIN LIBRARY — The Santa Monica Democratic Club overwhelmingly endorsed activist Torie Osborn in the race for the new 50th Assembly District Tuesday night, the second endorsement she’s received on the Westside.

Osborn walked away with 77 percent of the vote from a club that typically returns “no endorsement” vote or squeaks one out with just over the required 60 percent, said club President Jay Johnson.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and Betsy Butler, the current assemblymember for the 53rd District, earned 9 percent and 13 percent of the vote respectively.

The Santa Monica Democratic Club is one of the oldest in the state, and has been continuously active since the 1950s, Johnson said. It has approximately 500 members.

Candidates were asked three questions regarding their plans to raise taxes, their opinions on how to fix overcrowding in the prisons and how to provide affordable housing in the wake of the dissolution of California’s redevelopment agencies.

While all candidates made a good showing, demonstrating their expertise on local issues, Osborn took it, Johnson said.

“She evidently impressed the membership and was inspirational in her appeal,” Johnson said.

Osborn was thrilled with the win in Santa Monica, her hometown for the last 25 years.

“My message is resonating,” she said. “We’re in a time of crisis in California. There’s a sense of urgency, and we have to get our priorities straight.”

This is Osborn’s second win in the area. The Malibu Democratic Club endorsed her on Jan. 8, and the Pacific Palisades club returned a “no endorsement” vote on Jan. 15.

Osborn’s campaign drew criticism for the Malibu endorsement because her campaign encouraged new members to sign up before the December deadline, something which occurs often. Those new members’ dues were paid with a single a check.

Santa Monica’s club bylaws prohibit that practice. Those who intended to vote in Tuesday’s endorsement had to have joined the club 30 days before the vote and had to pay their dues using accounts in their own name or which they control, according to the bylaws.

The results of the vote didn’t surprise Bloom, who said the club had a history of partisanship.

“I think it’s a reflection of the internal politics of the club, and not a reflection of the general voting public,” Bloom said.

While the other candidates focused their energy on getting their supporters signed up for clubs and out to the endorsement votes, Bloom is working on his campaign and keeping up with his other responsibilities.

“I’m really focused not just on running for office, but doing my job as mayor and the other hats I wear on the Council of Governments, Coastal Commission and so forth,” he said.

Osborn sees herself as a candidate in line with the area’s values, and attributed her success to that rather than campaign tactics.

“My resume matches the values of this district,” she said.

This weekend, delegates and other voting members for the state Democratic Convention will vote in a pre-endorsing vote. If any of the candidates in the 50th get 70 percent or more of the vote on Saturday, they will be placed on the consent agenda for the full California convention.

If not, according to the state party’s bylaws, they can request to appear before the endorsing caucus. Butler, considered an incumbent even though she recently moved into the 50th following redistricting, would have to receive only 50-plus-one percent of the votes at that caucus, while either Bloom or Osborn would have to reach 60 percent, according to the bylaws.


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