Former Maryland Governor Endorses Buttigieg for DNC Chair

Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland and Democratic presidential candidate, endorsed South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. O’Malley told Politico:

“I’ve known Pete Buttigieg for many years, he has been a terrific mayor. He’s one of those new, up-and-coming leaders in our country and in our party that’s really bringing forward a new and better way of governing,” O’Malley — who himself briefly considered a run for the chairmanship before bowing out in November — told POLITICO. “He speaks with a clarity that our party really, really needs right now. He has been successful in a so-called red state, he brings to the public service of being mayor the background of having served in our armed forces.”

“He is of a new generation of leadership. Our party sometimes talks about bringing forward a new generation of leadership, well, hey man, there’s never been a better time,” added O’Malley, referring to the 35-year-old veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Some context and back story here:

  • O’Malley briefly considered running for DNC chairman himself very early on but ultimately chose not to get in the race.
  • Buttigieg rival Tom Perez – a Maryland native – served as O’Malley’s secretary of labor in 2007.  That O’Malley is endorsing Buttigieg and not Perez is seen as a snub in some quarters.
  • O’Malley is endorsing Buttigieg days before the fourth and final DNC regional forum, scheduled to take place in Baltimore – the city where O’Malley was once mayor – this Saturday.

Buttigieg – a Navy reservist and veteran of Afghanistan – also received the endorsement of VoteVets, a progressive veterans’ group:

“Progressives need fresh and bold new leadership, like Mayor Pete, to lead the way to regaining the majority in Congress, and the White House,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.  “Veterans like Pete know how to communicate to so many Americans why it is progressive policies that will keep America safe, and prosperous.  Being from the heartland, Pete also knows how to reconnect with huge swaths of the country that Democrats, frankly, have ignored.  He has a record of success in Indiana doing just that – not just on a rhetorical level, but on a technical and strategic level, as a great organizer.  That’s why he’s exactly the right person to lead the progressive movement, as chair.”

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog Chairman Candidates

Here’s the field for the second DNC forum. Note that this will be the first appearance by the last four names at the bottom of the list.

Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho
Raymond Buckley, New Hampshire
Pete Buttigieg, Indiana
Keith Ellison, Minnesota
Jehmu Greene, Texas
Jaime Harrison, South Carolina
Honorable Tom Perez, Maryland
Peter Peckarsky, Wisconsin
Sam Ronan, Ohio
Vincent Tolliver, Georgia
Robert Vinson Brannum, Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “DNC Forum Houston Liveblog Chairman Candidates”

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Vice Chair Candidates

The Field of Candidates for Vice Chair:
Michael Blake, New York
Melissa Byrne, Pennsylvania
Mitch Ceasar, Florida
Maria Elena Durazo, California
Liz Jaff, Washington, D.C.
Lorna M. Johnson, California
Latoia Jones, Washington, D.C.
Grace Meng, New York
Rick Palacio, Colorado
Adam Parkhomenko, Virginia

Liz Jaff notes that some DNC members don’t know what the vice chair does
Says it is time to rethink the role.

Maria Elena Durazo: We need to do a better job electing the most progressive candidates to office. We did it in California.

Mitch Caesar: This is an opportunity. We don’t have White House or Congress.
We have movement here that is genuine. Need to be part of it, not coopt it.
Need to bring everybody to the table.
So many people were so confident we couldn’t lose this election, and here we all are today.

Grace Meng: Because of this president, many people at JFK so Americans with green cards and man who served with US army 10 years not separated from his family.
Momentum for 2017, 2018, and 2020 elections.  Our job to provide infrastructure so our state parties and candidates have tools and resources to run for office and increase turnout.

Latoia Jones: We need them (marchers) more than they need us.
We have to recruit them, engage them and train them. When we do that, we win.

Adam Parkhomenko: When someone steps up with a good idea or movement, it’s a good idea to work with them.
Ready for Hillary worked because people felt invested.
All this money spent on TV, if we could invest it locally..

Melissa Byrne: I’m running for Vice Chair of the Resistance
Need to make sure every senator votes “Hell, no!” on all the nominations.
Need to make sure Democrats introducing legislation.
When they try to build that wall, we are right there tearing down that wall.
We are the Resistance, we are going to win!

Rick Palacio: We need to afford Donald Trump and Republicans the same benefits they gave President Obama.
We need to be the Resistance as Democrats, oppose all these nominees.
Stand up for our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Stand up with our LGBT brothers and sisters.
Stand with our brothers and sisters in Labor as well.

Lorna Johnson:
We’re in touch with the young people

Maria Elena Durazo: Extraordinary movement in Phoenix. Registered tens of thousands of new voters in the heat of the summer.  What moved them was fact we were out to create more just equal society, and we gave them freedom to talk about it in their terms.
We gave them space to talk about it for themselves. I didn’t pretend to speak for them and nobody else should. Create space for people to speak for themselves and say it in their words.

Liz Jaff: Look at our panel. Lot of young people running for office. The press needs to talk about that. The chair candidates are great. They need to talk to us. We are millennials running to be their vice chairs.
Bunch of Bernie, Hillary and Obama people got 1,500 young people to sign up to run for office.

Michael Blake: talk about technology… People want to be involved. Have to start listening towhat’s going on.  Young people believe in our vision.
Don’t sit there on Facebook or Instagram. Get out there and mobilize. I refuse to sit on the sidelines while we have a demagogue in the White House.

Grace Meng: Tech increasingly important.  Work with sttes and state legislators to make sure our voting rolls are current.
Future Forum – ask DNC chair candidates to provide line item in DNC budget to trget youth and millennial generation, and technology.

Melissa Byrne: As only Bernie alum up here, connecting tech with young people was because we were able to connect with them on key issues.
Connecting offline is where you really build power.
Want to work with DSCC and DCCC to undo their email program. How many of you have gotten “the sky is falling” messages?

Mitch Ceasar: Lot of areas we need to win, but also lot of areas we need to lose not so badly.
We win in South Florida. Central Florida is a swing area. We lose in North Florida. If we did a little better there, our odds would increase.
We need to have a southern strategy.
The DNC needs to invest in the South. The South is there to be picked up on, it is there to be gained from. Use this as an opportunity.
I don’t like losing to Republicans, I’ve done that before. But I don’t like losing to THIS GUY.

Adam Parkhomenko: The sad part is we have to keep asking this question.
Howard Dean talked about this as the outsider, came in, won.
Key here – stick to the rules in the charter.  Saw this in the primary.
DNC needs to be resource to the states.
I did anything and everything I could during 2 and a half months I was at DNC to help Georgia.
We have state parties with no money. State parties like Kentucky that got into debt because they decided to double down.
Kansas – best election in years.
Alaska – took back the House.
Every officer elected should play a role to raise funds for state party partnership.

Lorna Johnson: The system is broken and needs to be rebuilt, from grassroots up.
State and local levels have been ignored during non-election years.
Funding – so we can have year round program.
Need transparency and accountability for the funds that we raise.
In order to get legislative seats, must get out the vote. Local voting is important.

Rick Palacio: DNC lost focus. Turned into a machine which large sums of money went to state parties to elect president every 4 years.
Rebuild our state parties.
Strengthen our parties, empower them to recruit local candidates.
Unacceptable for Republicans to go unchallenged anywhere, even if it’s solid red county or district.
We’re going to grow from inside out, not from top down.

Grace Meng: It is incredibly important, local candidates feel like they have no support.
As we build toward reform, one of our big challenges redistricting: have to make important strides before tackling topic of 2020 presidential elections.

Liz Jaff: we don’t provide tools, resources or data
Want more people to run for office.
We’re closing off information and data, people get upset and move away from the party.
Need to make that information a lot clearer.
This is about crowdsourcing information.
Competition makes us better.

Michael Blake: have to make it easier for everyone to vote.
Can’t s silently by while restrictive policies on the vote.
Should support open primaries. Anyone that wants to vote that should be able to.
Should embrace change, change makes us better party.
Engage all of the time.

Michael Ceasar: We are at crossroads.  Have to search soul and decide whether primaries or caucuses way to go.
Last 8 years, had Dem in White House, decisions were made for us.  We don’t have the White House anymore

Melissa Byrne: What you can do today on local level is knock on a door, build a community. Have 10 friends come over, talk about issues important to your community, go hit 20 doors and talk to people.
In elections, you work backwards.  Figure out all benchmarks you need to accomplish today.
Pay interns $15 an hour – no more unpaid internships.

Rick Palacio: Colorado has 64 counties, 3 organizers. They divide up the state.
Encouraging them to run for office. People who volunteer on campaign are perfect candidates to run for office.
Ask people who don’t want to run for something to make phone calls or write letters to elected officials.
Encourage people to do something simple like have a house party. Invite friends and neighborhood organizations to come in and start spreading the word.
Community engagement meetings is how we do it in Colorado. Encourage other state party chairs to do the same.


Latoia Jones: We have a connection issue. We’re not connecting with young voters, etc.
Need to hear what they’re saying.
In Georgia, we moved the needle. I have done this work.

Mitch Ceasar: I’ve done everything from raise money to organize campaigns to media.
I was one of originators of Florida Recount case in 2000.
I drew ire of Rush Limbaugh by name.
I’m here because I care about party and philosophy we share.

Maria Elena Durazo: Courage of workers at Trump hotel who voted for forming unions and voted against him as president inspired me.

Michael Blake: King said we remember the silence of our friends

Melissa Byrne: Protested Trump in Philly because he had audacity to show up in sanctuary city.

Lorna Johnson: We all want transparency, state party funding, and to be included. The question is implementation.

Grace Meng: Want transparency and accessibility to the budget.  Support candidates so we can increase accessibility to our candidates and increase local turnout. Diversity and inclusion – where we put or money is where priorities lie.

Rick Palacio: When we don’t stand up for one another, no one else will.
Now is not the time for us to be fighting amongst ourselves. Rebuild party from inside out.
The next 4 years going to be long, and we’re not going to win anything sniping at others’ heels.

Liz Jaff: We need to get stuff done. DNC is toolkit for the people. Democrats have never been stronger, more sexy. Donald Trump coming for you.

Adam Parkhomenko: Spent career investing and growing grassroots of our party.  I’m a workhorse. Spoken with 400 DNC members now. I’ve heard a lot, heard you want to see more respect for state parties, real funding for state parties, heard you want to win more downballot elections, heard you want a partner at the DNC.  I want to be that partner, make sure you have someone there for you.


DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Sheila Jackson Lee

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
(D) Texas

We are Ann Richards… We are Barbara Jordan. We are Lloyd Bentsen
We are Democrats in Texas

I call to order recognition at JFK Airport, an Iraqi interpreter who was coming to get a liver for family.  Someone decided to alter the values of America

Who are you? You are a social democratic engineer

The man who sits in high place wants to deny the DNA evidence that freed the Central Park Five.

Urges people to call their senators to vote no on Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Steve Beshear

Steve Beshear
(D) Former Governor of Kentucky

“I am a Democrat. That’s a boast, not a confession.”
“Our problem lies not with core beliefs of the Democratic Party. Our core values are as relevant as they’ve always been.”
I know how a Democrat can win in a red rural state.
Our experience in Kentucky worth looking at.
How did I do it? The reason really simple: feelings are as important, if not more important than facts on the page.
I proved to the people of Kentucky that I cared about them, cared about their families, cared about their future.
We are the party of growth and opportunity. We are the party that respects and fights for personal freedoms. We are the party that led the fight for Civil Rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights.

Donald Trump and GOP tapped that frustration into a change election.
This was not repudiation of Democratic values, it was expression of discontent for way things are. They wanted change.
Voters will soon realize Donald Trump one of those leaders. Nor are Republicans in Congress who alternate between looking other way on Trump harsh proposals or proposing harsher ones.

If we can’t agree on basic principles, we don’t stand a chance in 2018 or 2020.
In order to regain confidence of American people, we don’t just have to grab their minds. Let’s go out there and gain their hearts.

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog -Donna Brazile

What a week.. It began with an inaugural address that was so dark.
Barely a week later on day to remember horrors of Holocaust, Pres Trump introduced policy discriminating people on the base of religion.
In the home of freedom of religion on day set aside for the Holocaust, Pres put in jeopardy, being divided.
Trump erased climate change and LGBT equality from White House website.
Any hope our president would show values for America’s people and laws, that hope is gone.

I marched in the streets of Amsterdam.
Over 500,000 marched in Washington, 3x more than showed up for the inaugurationIt wasn’t about identity politics, it was about unity politics.
Clear message: We will not back down. We will not turn back the clock. We will not remain silent.

Begins introducing former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear.

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Maria Teresa Kumar

Maria Teresa Kumar
Voto Latino

Learned in 2008 that way millennials and Latinos gather infrmation is through peer-to-peer
Latinos broke 50 percent mark for first time in this election, because there was a candidate who came after us and questioned whether we were American or not.
Growth opportunities: 141 percent Latino growth.
Texas will be a minority majority state.
Georgia: by the time early voting finished, 144 percent increase in Latino early vote from 2012.

In 2012, $6 billion spent. $20 million of that spent on building infrastructure in the Latino community.

The fall of Pete Wilson was not accidental. We are living a Pete Wilson moment across the country.  Proposition 187 defeated in courts and galvanized Democrats. California a reliably blue state in presidential elections since 1992 and Republicans control less than20 percent of the state legislature.

California – took 25 years to cement a legislative base. In less than 6 years, we kicked out Joe Arpaio and cementing a stronger Arizona.

In 2018, 84 House Districts have Latino population of 4 percent or more. In a tight race, that could make all the difference.

54 percent of Latinos voted before Election Day – those not part of exit polls.
Cubans in Florida voted more for Deocrat than Republican for president.
They voted for Marco Rubio, but at top of the ticket they voted for Hillary Clinton.

20 percent of America is Latino, but we don’t have leadership that looks like us.

Suggests party start talking about wage enforcement as a policy. Voters don’t want to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, but they voted for Trump because they wanted to stop competing against undocumented workers for the same jobs.

Invest in key states: NC, Georgia, Texas. “Florida not lost, just needs massaging.”

I would argue that one of the reasons we lost is we left voters on the table.
Here in Texas, we were registering voters for $3.31,
3 million young Latinos under age of 35.
Lost state by single digits.

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Gilberto Hinojosa

Gilberto Hinojosa
Chairman, Texas Democratic Party

Trump is a minority president, not in way most of us use word minority.
Trump is a minority president because majority of people in this country didn’t vote for the SOB.

In Texas, we did a lot better than in a long time. First time in 20 years we came within single digits in a presidential election.
In Harris County, we won every countywide position by 2,000 votes.
In 2016, you kicked ass! 165k margin.
In 2020, margin will be 400k.

Change view of Democratic Party. Texas can be a blue state.
Donald Trump will help us build a wall – a blue wall.


Hello Arizona!

Happy 2017! The site was inactive for several weeks because my almost 6-year-old Macbook Pro decided to go kaput while I was on vacation. A few weeks and a new hard drive later, I and the site are back and open for business.

I just arrived in Phoenix a few hours ago for the first Democratic National Committee Regional Forum. I will be in town for the next several days doing interviews and filing stories and tweeting from the scene as much as possible.

Watch this space…

DNC Forum Live Blog

The DNC Forum organized by the Ohio Democratic Party is about to begin. Watch this space for highlights.

All times are Pacific Standard Time

1:00 – Opening statements.  Up first is New York Assemblyman Michael Blake, who announced his candidacy for Vice-Chair yesterday.  He noted that one third of all House Democrats come from three states, and party only has seven Secretaries of State across the country.

1:05 – Ray Buckley starts his opening comments. He is participating via Skype because of conflicting commitment with the New Hampshire Democratic Party today.  Buckley notes NHDP has all Democrat, all female congressional delegation for the first time in history, have similar electorate to many Midwestern states Hillary Clinton lost.

1:10 – Jaime Harrison begins his opening comments.
“We’ve lost our way. We’ve allowed our party to deteriorate.”
“33/50 governorships controlled by Republicans, 69/99 state houses controlled by Republicans, but we only obsess about the White House.” Harrison praises Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy from 2005-2009, notes that he had to fight with Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer (then-DCCC and DSCC chairs)
“It’s about building trust again in our communities with our party.”
Harrison gets a laugh from the crowd with a House of Cards reference.

1:24 – Keith Ellison begins his opening comments. Compares his day to the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Ellison points out that his congressional district went from having the lowest turnout in Minnesota when he was elected in 2006 to having the highest turnout now.
“We went from a squeaker for Al Franken to a blowout. We went from a squeaker for Mark Dayton to a blowout.”
Ellison acknowledges the need for a fulltime DNC Chair. Closes his opening comments with: “If you elect me, get ready to work.” #DNCForum

Q&A Begins

Q: Ellison – will you eliminate the superdelegate system?
KE: Listen to the Unity Commission. Superdelegates must follow the will of voters of their state.  You want them to be involved but you want them to represent will of the voters.  JH: Let the Unity Commission work. Agrees with KE
MB: Agree on commission, take to the next step. There needs to be changes. Think on other side, if there had been a superdelegate process, probably less likelihood of a Trump nomination.  Let’s figure out how to improve the process first rather than dramatically change it.
RB: Yes, I believe state vote at convention must reflect what vote was in primary or caucus. Last 8 years, been member of Rules and Bylaws – worked on this issue unsuccessfully.  One of the reforms on how we do business at DNC that allow people out there to trust the DNC once again.

Q: Steps to recruit candidates at state and local offices.
JH: Starts with state parties.  Some only have $50K in cash, have elections in 2 years.  25 of 33 Senate seats up in 2018 are Dems, 10 of them in states like Montana, Ohio, etc. that went for Trump.
When I became SC chair, I thought hardest part of my job would be raising money. The hardest part of the job is finding good candidates. I decided to create something to recruit and train good candidates – James Clyburn political fellowship.

Q: Ideas to keep rural Democrats competitive and feeling welcome in the party?
KE: I’m from DFL – Democratic Farm and Labor Party.  Go to rural communities, speak to them on how rural values are important to our Democratic values.  Respect individuality and personal choices.  Show up, be there. Also critical in rural America that money from DNC to rural communities has to be there.  Talking to people in WV – they don’t even have a state party office.  Go do strong listening sessions all over the country. Have to believe we can win in rural communities.
Indebted to Howard Dean for 50-state strategy, but we need a 3,141-county strategy.

Q: How do you plan to thwart right wing propaganda machine?
RB: In NH 2014, Koch brothers invested heavily here.  We reelected our governor, outspent 2-1. There’s nothing more powerful than one neighbor talking to another neighbor. Donald Trump going to be using Twitter feed, celebrity. He has no relationship to honesty when it comes to talking about issues or policies.  We can send all the mail we want, all the TV ads.  Reestablish state parties… have a permanent HQ in every congressional district across the country.  Have offices out there, so people can utilize them, year in year out.  Have to find new innovative ways of communicating.  TV ads not working, more mail isn’t working.  Get down to neighbors talking to neighbors.  NH said hell no when Brooklyn said they would do GOTV based on analytics.

MB: Make sure both campaigns sharing the data – doesn’t happen often enough.  Look at our track record. All I’ve done over 11 years is how to build organization.  We can’t just win on Election Day and leave.  Too often what we do is change staff all the time.  There are 219 counties that Obama won twice that Trump won. Counties made decision twice to elect/re-elect Obama with 50-60 percent approval.  This will be leadership not just for 2018 midterms, this will be leadership for 2020.

Q: Everyone running agree states should get data immediately?
All candidates raise their hands.

Q: How are you going to unite Democratic Party?
JH: When I was floor director in 2006, one of most diverse caucuses. 15-seat majority.  Difficult when you have issues ranging from hate crimes legislation to withdrawing from Iraq, Lilly Ledbetter. All Democrats for that… Not necessarily.  One of strengths we have as party is diversity, but sometimes comes with great challenges.
One thing I learned from Clyburn – go to people, respect them, and feel that you respect them and appreciate them, it’s amazing how far you can come and how united you can be.
It wasn’t easy. Didn’t think we would pass Matthew Sheppard bill. You have to make it real for people, have to show them, not tell them.  We passed the legislation overwhelmingly.  If you listen to people and understand, you can bring people to do that.  I’ve done that, had a united party going into the convention.

MB: We have to listen and make changes.  Have to appreciate that yes, we had very intense primary which I think was good.  8 years ago, we also had an intense primary.  Irony is I went from Iowa to South Carolina to Minnesota.  One thing we have to learn from this, are we going to make concrete changes so everyone feels they’re in power? I represent most diverse county in America.  Don’t talk about BLM and then be silent on DAPL.
I want you not just to have seat at the table, want to ensure that you have a seat and you have power at that table. Have to recognize we overcome many things.
It took 9 years for Civil Rights to happen.  This is moment for us to build. Has to be moment for us to unite. We have to be Democrats right now, because on other side you have someone doing everything possible to disrespect us as a people.
We want to go around the country to we can build together.  Cant just sit around and hope somebody will show up.  Cannot assume somebody going to vote for you when you haven’t talked to them in a year and a half.

KE: I started as a Bernie Sanders supporter. I told Bernie supporters I’ve carried bills with Hillary. After primary, I hit 7 states for Hillary Clinton.  I was in Ohio, NC, Florida, campaigning for Hillary because I believed in her candidacy.
We cannot form circular firing squad. We must unify and need the talents of every single person to do it.
Unity is something everybody is for, but achieving it is much harder.
Unity is listening, unity is talking. We can all unite around a real infrastructure plan because that puts workers to work and gives us a green economy.
There is a reason why I get elected with 70 percent of the vote. It’s not because district is very liberal. It’s because we work together to reach level of understanding.
When we fall out, I will be the chair in the room to nail us all back together.

RB: I was state party chair in 2008 and 2016. I went to ballot commission to defend Bernie’s right to be on the ballot.  When he went to file, I escorted him into the Secretary of State’s office. I did that not because I favored Bernie, but because it was fair thing to do.
2018 going to be critical election, need to make sure everyone is involved. Everyone has a place at the table.

UPDATE: The Ohio Democratic Party has posted the full video of the forum online. You can watch it here.