A series of obscure elections took place over the past few weekends with potentially profound implications for the fate of the California Democratic Party, which has been roiled by infighting in the wake of Eric Bauman’s resignation as chair amid sexual misconduct claims. The biennial elections of Assembly delegates, known as ADEMS, install 1,000 people into party leadership with power to decide which candidates to back, policies to support and who should helm the most powerful political machine in the state.
Generally, it seems, the ADEMS became a contest among democratic-socialist Berniecrats, moderates and insiders. Locally, Assembly District 24 saw one of the biggest turnouts and results that reflect the direction of the party as a whole.
At least, that’s the way veteran Dem activist Prameela Bartholomeusz sees it. The executive board member of the Santa Clara County Democratic Party put together the most successful slate in a field of 40 contenders, trouncing the establishment pack (featuring, among others, Mountain View Councilwoman Ellen Kamei and former Sunnyvale Mayor Jim Griffith) endorsed by AD24 Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) and progressives led by former AD22 Assemblywoman Sally Lieber.
“It was the perfect slate, in my opinion,” Bartholomeusz says. “We brought new people into the fold, we brought in people of color and people with backgrounds in nonprofits, in business, in schools, in a wide range of fields. This was a vote for diversity.”
To Gary Kremen, who ran on the same slate, the thousand-plus folks who cast their vote Sunday at the Hillview Community Center in Los Altos conveyed an ideological point as well. That is, Dems want a more progressive party—but within reason.
“It was clear that voters support those who swing to the left,” says Kremen, a tech entrepreneur who sits on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. “But it was also clear, at least in our district, just how far left voters are willing to tolerate.”