State Assembly candidate Betsy Butler picked up the endorsement of the California Democratic Party this past weekend at the organization's convention in San Diego. But as has been the case for many of the endorsements in the 50th Assembly District contest, this one came with controversy.
Butler, a current Assembly member who represents a South Bay district, received 62 of the possible 85 delegate votes. Rival Torie Osborn, a political activist, had 20 backers and Santa Monica Mayor/California Coastal Commissioner Richard Bloom earned no support. Three delegates voted for no endorsement.
"These numbers represent the heart and commitment of Los Angeles Democrats," said Butler, according to a press release issued by her campaign. "People in my district worked so hard for this. They took me from a solid majority locally to nearly a three-fourth super-majority across the goal line. This was not just a victory for me, it was a victory for their passion and dedication to the work we have done together.”
Osborn supporters looked at the win differently. Several said Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is a Butler supporter, made sure his pick got the victory.
"Thirty-eight of Betsy Butler's votes were handed to her by Speaker John Perez, who had party officials and legislators from outside the new 50th A.D. appoint delegates who lived in the district who were pledged to vote for Betsy," wrote Malibu resident Ted Vaill, one of the delegates at the convention, in an email to Patch.
Osborn's campaign did not immediately respond to Patch's request for comment.
Osborn has received endorsements from several local Democratic clubs, including those in , and .
The endorsements from Malibu and West Hollywood-Beverly Hills were controversial, because in both cases large numbers of Osborn supporters joined those Democratic groups at the last moment. Detractors said these people did not live in the cities the clubs represented and the new members joined with the sole purpose of getting the endorsements for Osborn. In both cases, checks in excess of $1,000 were submitted to cover the membership dues of all the Osborn supporters joining the clubs.
The 50th District was created last year as part of . It includes West Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, part of Hollywood, Pacific Palisades and Agoura Hills, as well as other areas near those cities and neighborhoods.
In addition to the three Democrats, West Hollywood Republican Brad Torgan is in the contest to claim the Assembly seat. The primary election is June 5. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will face off in the general election in November.