As the race for CDP chair starts to heat up, the two leading candidates are making their case directly to county party organizations across the state and we’re getting a combination of announcements and fundraising pitch letters — both of which reveal more insight into Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis as delegates prepare to vote.
The Ellis pitch letter/fundraising letter came in a couple of days ago. It’s reprinted for your review. I’ve been following this race closely and get communications regularly from a number of people in both campaigns. I have to confess some of the charges of “lies and truths” published by Ellis are the first time I’m hearing some of these things.
My position on this letter; Ellis has gone negative. Asking questions and answering them in the format she does is a tactic employed by bad publicists who need to change the narrative and cannot. It’s disappointing to see this so publicly executed and done so poorly.
Here’s the letter, and there’s some commentary at the end.
There are signs that a political campaign is in real trouble: no clear vision, candidate rebranding, and most sadly, attempting to change the conversation by littering the landscape with innuendo, rumors and insulting rhetoric.
Yes, it’s a poor substitute for real ideas, but there’s a solidly strategic rational for this lowbrow tactic… because, as we know, if a lie gets repeated enough, some voters will believe it to be (at least partially) true. Creating a toxic atmosphere is geared to benefit the candidate with the higher negatives, narrower support and faltering message.
I’ve trained hundreds of women to run and win at the ballot box. An important strategy for any successful campaign is to play your game – not theirs, because the only conduct and tenor you can control are your own. My approach: telling hard truths and calling the question.
Here’s my promise for getting to the truth about my views and experience: ask me; I’m not shy. I firmly believe the next CDP Chair should earn every delegate’s vote, and that means answering tough questions. I’m proud of my accomplishments; I’m proud of my record. If you can’t face a field of potential supporters, however can you stare down the vitriol coming from the opposition? Our Party needs a warrior, not a monarch. Got a question for me? Post it on my wall. I believe we all need to ask the important questions, and leaders need to be held to answer – including me.
THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
For this Chair’s race, there’s been a recent uptick of rumors and outright lies being floated. To be honest, some would be laughable if they weren’t so corrosive and aimed at bringing down the tone of this race. Yes, the vast majority of delegates see these tactics for what they are; but, if we’re going to call out the President for his falsehoods, we must have the courage to do so wherever they appear, especially within our own ranks.
Like my grandmother used to say – sunshine is the best disinfectant. You can count on me to campaign openly in the light, not hushed in the shadows. Real leaders run towards the attack, not away from it. So here we go…
THREE LIES AND A HALF TRUTH Lie #1 — Kimberly Ellis supports charter school candidates and gets money from charter school companies and their special interests.
Truth — I have never received money for any charter school company, nor do I support charter school candidates. The only money I have received to date has comes from individual donors and Party allies like labor unions. I do not believe in the divesting of public school dollars to charter schools. I send my children to public schools because I believe in the value of a public education. I believe teachers have one of the hardest and most important professions in our society and are undervalued and underpaid. I am against vouchers. I believe we need more funding for all public schools, including our Community College, CSU and UC systems. I believe we need full funding for both transitional kindergarten and all-day kindergarten. I believe we need to protect teacher seniority rights and pensions. I believe we need to curb this endless testing and prohibit test scores from being a determinant in teacher evaluations. If you want to learn more about my thoughts on education, visit the issues page of my website, check out my donors and decide for yourself.
Lie #2 — Kimberly Ellis pretends to be a Bernie supporter and secretly leaves messages for Hillary supporters, telling them she was really with her.
Truth — I supported Hillary Clinton, as did my opponent. In fact, I repeated this fact again this past weekend in front of 200 of my supporters who also backed Bernie. This is hardly a secret. The reason why I have so many Sanders supporters backing my campaign is because I am the only candidate who has publicly decried both the way the DNC put its thumb on the scale and how the Sanders supporters were treated. The vast majority of this Party – regardless of who they supported last year – is ready to build a more progressive, inclusive CDP together. Only those who find it politically advantageous try to use last year as a wedge issue; the rest of the 97.5 percent of us are ready to move forward on implementing progressive changes in California and throughout the country.
Lie #3 — Kimberly Ellis is raising money from corporations and has a private consultancy firm like her opponent.
Truth — I can’t speak for his consulting business – FPPC disclosure can fill in the gap there, but as to me, I do not have a consulting income, nor have I received any money from anyone besides the non-profit executive director salary I received from Emerge California ($95K). I’ve raised my family on a fair professional wage, and I am proud of that. Money is not a driver for me. I could have traded on the access I had to political leaders, but you can’t lead an organization if people wonder whether your priority lies with your full time day job or a discrete side-hustle. As to all of my donors, you can see them for yourself. I’m incredibly proud that my support has come from hundreds of individual donors who share my vision for a bigger, better, bolder CDP – one funded by people, not corporations.
Lie #4 — The FPPC is investigating the CDP, specifically Hilary Crosby, CDP Controller and Kimberly Ellis backer, who raised money from corporations and is using Kimberly to keep the corporate gravy train money going.
Truth — OK, half right. The FPPC often investigates the CDP, but not the $700K Hilary Crosby raised from small donors over the eight years she has honorably served as our CDP Controller (a fundraising position, not a fiscal control role done by staff and outside professionals). Her reputation for hard work, for putting the Party first, and for pushing out the DEM program speaks for itself.
— The Chair of the largest Democratic State Party in the country needs the pluck to answer the tough questions and call out bullies for what they are. With our bully-in-chief sitting behind the Oval Office desk, we need courageous leaders who can not only stand the heat, but also know how to defuse it.
Kimberly (digital signature added)
The notion that Bauman’s campaign is in trouble is not factual in any sense; I’d argue that initial charge in the letter is projection on the part of the Ellis campaign. There are quite a few innuendos and negative digs made at Bauman in this note. The materials I’ve gotten from the Bauman campaign are exclusively why he is the best candidate to lead the party. There’s no mention of other candidates in the race.
One of the biggest challenges the new party chair will face is uniting the party. Ellis makes the claim the DNC put its “thumb on the scale” and treated Sanders supporters badly. I’ve read through pages and pages of ‘leaked” DNC emails and all I see is several staffers bitching about Bernie and offering ideas — ideas only — about moving Hillary forward but none of these were carried out. The staffers come across like a bunch of mean girls from high school, but emails complaining about the non-Democratic candidate in the Democratic Primary is hardly “putting a thumb on the scale.”
The line: “Only those who find it politically advantageous try to use last year as a wedge issue,” is rich with irony. Ellis is in fact using last year as a wedge issue. There are subtle phrases to try and connect Bauman to President Trump — bullying….truthiness. Really?
As to how Bernie supporters were treated, these supporters weren’t exactly angels either. There was plenty of abusive tactics and threats made to super-delegates to switch votes, accusations of electronic eavesdropping on Bernie delegates, accusations of price gouging at convention hotels (clearly by people who have never been to Las Vegas during CES) and complaints about Bernie merchandise at the DNC Convention was anti-Semitic in some way. The math was settled at the California primary and super-delegates have never changed the will of the voters in the popular vote.
Ellis makes the point that she backed Hillary but tells the Berniecrats exactly what they want to hear in this letter — the DNC cheated your candidate; this is having your cake and eating it too and for those in the Party who backed Clinton from the get-go, it makes it that much easier to make a choice in this race.
It’s hard to tell if Ellis is making these choices on messaging or her campaign is. But this letter smacks of rank Amateurism and I’m disappointed by it.
I’m disappointed with the tone of this letter. The CDP chair’s race is going to resemble the DNC chair’s election where Tom Perez got the votes and the Keith Ellison people were furious. Perez and Ellison are acting like grown ups to unite the DNC. Let’s hope that whoever wins the CDP Chair’s race can work with the other candidate to unite Californian Democrats.