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Barbaro to Step Down at DPOC

Frank Barbaro at OCYD Clinton Awards

Hat tip to Marty Wisckol at the OC Register for this story about DPOC Chairman Frank Barbaro’s decision to retire from his party position. Barbaro is leaving the party in better condition than he found it with vote registration up and more elected Democrats in office than when he took over. ¬†Barbaro has grown weary of some of the party infighting, while not as bad as the OC GOP’s, a struggle nonetheless.

The Register’s story suggests that there’s going to be a battle for control of the party.

From the story:

“Frank’s the one who can have the governor return his call in 30 minutes,” said Tustin’s Jeff LeTourneau, a gay-rights activist running for the chairmanship.

Also running for the post, which will be voted on Jan. 28 by the party’s governing Central Committee, is Ladera Ranch’s Henry Vandermeir, a longtime Democratic Party activist and the executive director of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County. Another possible candidate is former state Sen. Joe Dunn. Dunn has not announced whether he’s decided to seek the post. If Dunn runs, LeTourneau said he’d drop his bid and support the former lawmaker, who is now executive director of the State Bar of California.

The chairmanship, like its Republican counterpart, is an unpaid position.

Barbaro was recruited to run for chairman in early 2001 by Central Committee members unsatisfied with the other candidates. He won easily and helped bring together those with differing agendas. Among them was the Democratic Foundation, a group of wealthy party activists Barbaro helped found in 1976, which Barbaro helped re-engage with the county party.

“Without him, the party might have fallen apart over the past decade,” Vandermeir said. “He’s done a good job of keeping the different factions together.”