|AD50 Candidate Betsy Butler|
As with the WeHo/Beverly Hills Club endorsement, Butler was widely expected to easily walk away with a win. During the AD50 primary, Bloom snubbed SMRR's endorsement meeting, claiming irregularities and lack of transparency in the endorsement process.
“After much thought, I have decided to not attend today’s SMRR meeting,” Bloom wrote in a March statement to the SMRR Executive Board, “I came to this decision out of disappointment with the lack of transparency and fairness that has preceded the meeting as it applies to all candidates for the 50th Assembly District race.”
SMRR voted to overwhelmingly to endorse Torie Osborn in the primary.
Bloom's actions during the primary rankled the board's membership, creating a rift Bloom would have to work hard to overcome in the general election. Butler for her part was aided on Sunday by SMRR co-founder Dennis Zane, who helped the Assemblywoman work the packed room.
Bloom's campaign circulated a May 3rd letter from SMRR co-chairs Patricia Hoffman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein condemning Butler for touting an endorsement from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA), powerful rent control opponents who characterizes rent stabilization measures as "socialized housing", and laments it was unable to stop this "disease" from spreading throughout the state in the 1970's.
"We and our many members in Santa Monica were dismayed to receive your announcement of your recent endorsement by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles in your quest for election to the California State Assembly," wrote Hoffman. "This endorsement and your apparent enthusiasm for it will certainly sow doubt and mistrust for your candidacy among the renter voters of Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles."
In the end, SMRR's membership remained ambivalent and divided. Butler wasn't able to reach the 55% threshold needed to secure an endorsement.
"I just couldn't vote for someone who was proud of AAGLA's support," said one SMRR member who asked his name not be used. "If we endorsed Butler too, what does that say about us?"
On Monday night, Butler came dangerously close to losing the endorsement of the Stonewall Democratic club, but the vote was called off at the last minute and rescheduled when irregularities were discovered in the membership list.
Recent developments raise some interesting issues for the candidate. During the AD50 primary, Butler explained away her endorsement loses to Torie Osborn by claiming her opponent had unfairly packed clubs with paid memberships. But twin losses and a near miss for Butler in less than a week seems to have changed that narrative.
West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang, a Butler supporter, admitted to a West Hollywood blog that club stacking had nothing to do with Butler's poor performance at the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic club endorsement meeting. “Richard Bloom is a known quantity, he has a lot of supporters and they worked hard.”
But thanks to Prang's motion to table the vote, Butler will get a third shot at the club's endorsement in August.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.