Protesters at the California Democratic Party (CDP) conference in Sacramento, California, called for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. According to the Los Angeles Times, protesters broke past a security detail at the event, momentarily blocking delegates and other attendees from entering and leaving the facility. Protestors were carrying placards of “Free Palestine” as they urged for an immediate cease-fire.
Four Democrats, including three current U.S. House members, are running for the open seat in California’s U.S. Senate in the state’s contested primary in March. The state’s Democrats have been meeting in Sacramento this weekend to weigh candidate endorsements. Saturday afternoon, pro-Palestinian activists repeatedly disrupted the gathering. Security at the weekend party gathering was so tight that attendees had to be scanned and have their luggage inspected before being let in.
Shery Yang, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, announced the cancellation of Saturday night’s festivities immediately after voting was completed on party endorsements. U.S. Representative Barbara Lee got the most votes of any delegate before the cancelation. Lee’s candidacy received a boost of confidence when she placed higher than her opponents, who had so far outpolled her in public polls, even though no candidate received the 60% of votes necessary to secure the party’s formal support.
Representatives Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, Barbara Lee, and former tech CEO Lexi Reese all attended Saturday’s convention in the hopes of garnering enough votes to win the party’s endorsement. They all want to replace Senator Laphonza Butler, who was appointed to the position following the death of veteran Senator Dianne Feinstein in September. When Butler’s tenure ends in early 2025, she won’t seek re-election and plans to leave office.
Lee emerged with just under 41.5% of the vote, enough to overcome Schiff, who had 40.18% in early results given by the party. Porter came in third, with a little over 16% of the vote. About 2% of delegates did not choose to back any one contender. Reese only garnered three votes.
In a close primary, an endorsement from the state Democratic Party can help, but because Democratic Party delegates tend to be more liberal than the general population, that support may not reflect popular opinion. In a close campaign for governor, every endorsement counts.