Monday, January 9, 2012

Torie Osborn wins Assembly race endorsement in Malibu

Osborn and Malibu City Councilman
Jefferson Wagner
50th Assembly District candidate Torie Osborn beat out competitors Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom yesterday to win the endorsement of Malibu Democrats. In a lopsided victory, Osborn won 41 votes, Butler 5, and Bloom, none. Thirteen voted "no endorsement".

"I'm over the moon," Osborn said in an interview with Malibu Patch after receiving the endorsement. "It was decisive and it feels like a dry run for the whole campaign."

This is Osborn's second Democratic club endorsement. The Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains voted to endorse last October.

Osborn also garnered the endorsement of Malibu City Councilman Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner.

Richard Bloom
In a press release, Wagner said this was his second time seeing Osborn speak, and the debate between the three candidates was a key factor in his decision to endorse Osborn for the open seat in the newly configured district.

“Torie electrified the crowd, and demonstrated to me that we need her leadership, her vision, and her abundance of bold and new ideas in Sacramento,” said Wagner. “She has a deep understanding of the many issues that Malibu residents are concerned about. As an Independent, I look for candidates who can cross party boundaries, develop coalitions, provide answers and common-sense solutions that will help to fix our state. That’s why I am confident that she’ll be an exceptional representative of our community.”

The vote was not without controversy, however. Butler said the vote was not a reflection of the candidates' popularity in Malibu, claiming she heard Osborn's campaign signed up 42 people to join the club prior to the 30-day deadline. 

Ari Ruiz, political vice president for the Stonewall Young Democrats, and a volunteer organizer for Betsy Butler, commented on the Malibu Patch story,
I was at the meeting today. Staffers from City Hall (Los Angeles) were there in full presence supporting Ms. Osborn. I know that the room was stacked, you want names? I'll be happy to email a list.

Strategists I spoke with familiar with the Democratic Party club endorsement process were incredulous of the criticisms.

"If Betsy is unhappy with the outcome, there's an easy way for her to fix that, " said one strategist. "She can bring out her own people."

Apparently, Butler's campaign attempted to do just that, with this letter from campaign manager Lindsay Bubar,

As you know, it is critically important to receive the support from local Democratic clubs in races like these. With new Assembly districts and so many elections on the ballot next year, many people will rely on endorsement information from their local Dem club when they make their decision at the ballot box. We have the opportunity to secure support from key Dem clubs in the next month, but we will need your help to make that happen.

Below you will find a list of Dem clubs that are endorsing in Betsy's race. You can help by doing two things:

Betsy Butler
1) Join as many of the Dem clubs as possible (for most of the Clubs, the only requirement to join is that you be a registered Democrat. For
instance, you do not necessarily need to live in the Pacific Palisades to join the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club). In order to cast a vote for
Betsy, you will need to join by the deadline listed below AND attend the membership vote IN PERSON. If you can not attend on the date listed then please do not join the club.

2) Ask ask many friends as you can to also join and attend as many Dem clubs as possible.

Every vote counts and we need to make sure we do everything we can to secure these critical endorsements for Betsy.

Unfortunately for Butler, her campaign manager sent the email after Malibu's 30-day registration deadline.

Candidates give closing statements
Many long-time Malibu club members waited until they had heard from all three candidates before casting an endorsement vote. Marcia Hanscom, an environmental activist who who's been involved for years in both Ballona and Malibu Creek restoration issues, was one.

"I endorsed Torie Osborn last year -- before the district lines were changed and when I thought Torie's only opponent would be Richard Bloom." Hascom said in a comment to Malibu Patch,  "I told Betsy that I would consider a dual endorsement, and I was waiting to hear how things went at today's forum. If I had thought Betsy would half-way represent the things I care about in Malibu, where I lived for 10 years and where I work now on numerous issues - I would have voted for 'no endorsement' -- but I voted for Torie to be endorsed by the Club. A clear choice after today."

Malibu resident Athena Shlien came to the meeting undecided, but left supporting Osborn,  "Betsy Butler's first comment was about how Malibu is slow to develop, she shot herself in the foot with that statement. Doesn't she know that Malibu wants to retain its mountain and seascape charm?" Shlien commented,  "I went to the event with glazed eyes, thinking that this would be politics as usual. It turns out there are people who really do want to change the world for the better! Thank you Torie for giving me hope."

The next club endorsement meeting will take place in Pacific Palisades on Sunday.

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