SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Progressives said they are pushing ahead with their effort to block Democratic Party support after warning they would pull endorsements from lawmakers who rejected the universal health care bill.
It would be the first-ever statewide effort of its kind.
“We expect the party chair, our elected officials to do what they have committed to do, and we are going to hold them accountable, even if the party won’t,” said Amar Shergill, the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus chairman.
The Progressive Caucus is the party’s largest caucus in California. The group is targeting those who were prepared to reject the bill, which would have eliminated private health insurance and set up a single-payer, state-run health care system.
The new system would have been known as CalCare.
Although lawmakers never had their positions put on the public record since the bill died, Shergill said the group still has a sense of who did not support the bill. They have not yet said who or how many incumbents the caucus will attempt to block.
“We have a pretty good idea of where a lot of members were leading into the vote – still a lot of question marks too,” Shergill said.
In an effort to put a stop to the progressive endorsement blocking effort, Shergill said Democratic Party Chairman Rusty Hicks withheld delegate information from the caucus ahead of this past Wednesday’s pre-endorsement deadline.
In order to begin blocking endorsements, progressives needed signatures on a petition from 20% of those who will vote in the endorsement election.
“The party is pulling out all the stops to make sure they hide information, so that the incumbents that failed to act on behalf of the people of California aren’t criticized for it,” Shergill said.
A spokesperson for Hicks said Friday candidates got access to the delegate information and that caucuses could have also received the information — for a fee.
Hicks did not comment further on the progressive push.
“Delegates in the Democratic Party are interested in one thing: having Democrats win elections,” said Democratic strategist Steven Maviglio.
“I think ultimately, like this bill, it will fail, and the tactic of trying to bully legislators by doing this is something even people for this bill really don’t like,” Maviglio said. “What some on the Left forget is that legislators represent people, they represent their own district, they don’t represent the party platform. To be effective, they’ll have to win elections. The progressives have not done that.”
Members note the party endorsement process is complex, with more steps ahead on the still-long road to election season.