Osborn Snags Another Dem Club Endorsement

Community organizer Tori Osborn wins 77 percent of the votes of the Santa Monica Democratic Club, again edging out her opponents in the upcoming primary, incumbent Betsy Butler and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom.

's campaign for the California Assembly continued gaining steam Tuesday night as she picked up her third endorsement from a local Democratic club in recent weeks.

Having already garnered support from the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains and the , she now has the backing of the Santa Monica Democratic Club.

She won the endorsement overwhelmingly after the three candidates for the newly-carved 50th Assembly District fielded questions about an array of issues plaguing the financially troubled state.

"Because of you I’m going to win," she told her supporters, whom she called "kickass." "My life’s work has been making opportunities out of emergencies," she said.

Red-rimmed glasses perched on her nose, Osborn dubbed herself a "community organizer with an MBA." Her responses often evoked hollers and applause from her supporters. Wearing blue and yellow campaign stickers on their chests, they were the most boisterous in the 100-odd crowd in the main branch of the Santa Monica Library.

"I want a fighter. Their voice has to be fresh and authentic," said Santa Monica resident Sally Breiter, who met Osborn for the first time Tuesday and said she now supports her.

But Osborn's political ideologies are generally shared by her Democratic opponents, who are equally educated and whose resumes are just as formidable.

When asked how they would produce affordable housing , each of the candidates lamented the loss of the agencies, which were required to allocate 20 percent of their profits to provide residences for low-income earners.

When asked their plans to raise taxes, Osborn and said they support Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative to hike taxes on sales on and the wealthy, while replied, "We have a menu of options to choose from. The most important question isn’t which one we chose, but how do we get people to vote for it?"

Osborn and Butler also said they support taxing oil; Osborn added that she's working on a money-saving ballot initiative to reform Proposition 13.

The two women are also aligned in their opposition to the death penalty. Bloom said he supports it only for mass murderers and terrorists.

All three want to see health care reformed into a single-payer system, such as proposed under Senate Bill 810. Written by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and nicknamed "Medicare for All," it would eliminate private insurers carriers. 

To win the Democratic primary in June, Osborn will have to oust an incumbent—a historically difficult task. But, unlike Osborn, Butler, the current representative of the 53rd Assembly District, and Bloom, the mayor of Santa Monica, have yet to woo the support of a local Democratic club.

Those who know Osborn well, and those who met her for the first time Tuesday, said she distinguishes herself with her zeal. 

"She is honestly the most inspirational of the three," club president Jay Johnson said afterward in an interview.

By the end of the forum, 77 percent of the club members voted to back the activist, known in local circles for championing feminism and gay rights and working with the homeless.

Although none of the questions asked of the candidates were specific to Santa Monica, Osborn, Butler—who received 13 percent of the club's votes—and Bloom—who received 9 percent of the votes—all emphasized their ties to the city and to the rest of the new Assembly district, which extends north to Agoura Hills and east to Hollywood.

A joking nod to campaign fatigue by Bloom drew a teasing aside by Butler, who only recently finished campaigning for her current seat.

In response, a slightly ruffled Bloom reminded the audience that he has served on Santa Monica City Council for 13 years.

"I'm finishing the first year of my first term, and I'm quite happy with what I got to work on this year," said Butler, who went on to name six bills that she penned and that were ultimately signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Not to be discounted as too timid, Butler concluded: "I stand up and take the hard votes, I've gotten a few enemies but it’s the right thing to do."

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