The following memo went out from Janice Hahn’s campaign at 5:03 pm, almost three hours before delegate voting closed for party endorsement.
Author’s Note: The Hahn campaign took issue with my headline clarifying that she had not conceded the race, that the release below isÂ simply pointing out that she is the underdog. I have amended theÂ headline to add the word “Effectively” to clarify. Read the memo yourself and see how it reads to you.
To: All Interested Parties
From: Michael Trujillo, Janice Hahn Campaign Manager
Re: The Fight Between Janice Hahn and Gavin Newsom at the CDP Convention
Date: April 17, 2010
As we head into the voting at the 2010 California Democratic Party Convention, I wanted to put into historical perspective the fight between Janice Hahn and Gavin Newsom for the Party’s endorsement.
This is the first time in recent memory that two major candidates for Lieutenant Governor have sought the Party nod at the State Convention in an open-seat race, so the historical precedents are few.
Newsom starts off with some considerable advantages in terms of establishment support. In 2006, Phil Angelides overwhelmingly won the Party endorsement for Governor over Steve Westly with 67 percent of the delegates’ votes, largely on the power of his campaign co-chairs: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. Pelosi (who was not quite yet Speaker), introduced Angelides in front of the Convention and lobbied aggressively on his behalf during the entire Convention. Newsom, likewise, has announced Sen. Feinstein, Speaker Pelosi and Assembly Speaker John Perez as his most prominent supporters, with Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg joining them.
Newsom also was running a high-profile campaign for Governor for 16 months, and spent $3.5 million in the process, including developing a highly sophisticated Internet and e-campaign, with 40,000 supporters on Facebook and more than 1 million followers on Twitter. He conducted 24 well-received town halls in all parts of the state, with extensive phone banking to Democrats to draw out crowds.
He also delivered a well-regarded major speech at the 2009 Convention as an announced candidate for Governor that received statewide coverage, and hosted a street reception at the Convention featuring a concert with Wyclef Jean, shutting down K Street in Sacramento for thousands of delegates – 95% of whom are going to attend the 2010 convention.
In addition, Newsom has been endorsed by Art Torres, the immediate past and longest-serving Chair of the California Democratic Party in history, and current CDP Chair John Burton, a lifelong personal friend of Newsom’s, has said publicly of Newsom that “if he runs, he wins.”
The California Teachers Association also has endorsed Newsom, and historically has more delegates on the floor at a CDP Convention than any other union.
Newsom also has called hundreds of delegates in the last 10 days, personally urging them to support him, as well as launching thousands of “robo” calls to delegates.
So Newsom comes into the Convention with more standing than perhaps any candidate for Lt. Governor before him – since there has never been a candidate for Lt. Governor who also ran a full-fledged campaign for Governor before dropping back to seek the No. 2 office.
The Janice Hahn campaign has been working 24/7 to make the case for her candidacy during the Convention, and to put her in a position to contest for the Party endorsement. But many of the advantages are with Newsom in this fight, for all the reasons stated, and as Westly found out four years ago, it will be a challenge to stop someone with so much establishment backing from reaching the 60 percent threshold necessary to win the endorsement.
To me, this looks a lot like Jimmy Carter conceding the 1980 Presidential Election to Ronald Reagan hours before the polls on the west coast closed.