Just weeks after wrapping up a busy election season, California Democrats now have another opportunity to cast a vote, this time for an internal January election to select delegates to the California Democratic Party and the candidates include several Santa Monicans.

Every other year, the California Democratic Party holds elections in all of the state’s 80 assembly districts to pick 14 delegates from each to serve as representatives to the California Democratic Party Democratic State Committee. These delegates participate in discussions to choose what candidates, measures and resolutions the party endorses at the statewide and local level and attend the annual Democratic Convention.

“Although people think of the California Democratic Party as a monolithic, top-down organization, it actually consists of thousands of activist delegates from around the state,” Santa Monica Democratic Club (SMDC) President Jon Katz said.

Katz is in charge of organizing the Assembly District Elections Meeting (ADEM) for Assembly District 51 which includes Santa Monica as well as West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and part of the City of Los Angeles.

A total of 27 candidates have registered to run for District 51’s 14 seats. Councilwoman Caroline Torosis, who is currently a delegate and is running for re-election, is among a line-up of multiple other Santa Monica-based candidates including former Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education President and Santa Monica College Board of Trustees member Barry A. Snell, former City Council member and Mayor Pam O’Connor, Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commissioner Angela Scott, Santa Monica Lawyer Jan Goodman, Debbie Paperman, Santa Monica for Renter’s Rights Board member and Unite HERE organizer Cristina Navarro and SMDC Board members Isabel Storey and Dan Hall.

Former LA City Council Member Mike Bonin and former LA City Council candidate Erin Darling are also running in their districts, 55 and 61 respectively.

Torosis, Snell, Scott, Goodman, Storey, Navarro and Hall are running as part of a progressive slate of 14 candidates on a platform focused on rent control, climate justice, immigrant rights, homelessness and affordable housing among other issues. They represent this year’s sole organized slate, which Katz said is a difference from past years when there have generally been multiple slates. He said there were three competing in the 2021 election.

Although the ADEM election receives less attention than general elections, Katz views it as a valuable opportunity for democrats to make their voices heard.

“Democrats have the chance to determine which activists will represent their region within the party, which is why these elections are so important despite having extremely low visibility,” he said. “Unlike the regular election, these outcomes will be determined by just a few hundred voters districtwide, which means one vote is much more powerful than you might think.”

In past years, he said, one vote has been the difference between a winning and losing candidate.

This year’s election is scheduled for Jan. 8 and in person voting will take place at Stoner Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All democrats who registered with the party no later than Nov. 8 of this year are eligible to vote, but must register in advance to receive an ADEM ballot. Voting by mail is also an option for those who request a ballot by Dec. 31.

For more information, to register and to request a mail ballot visit https://ademelections.com/home


Grace Adams

Grace Adams is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she studied Spanish and journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London. She has experience...