(KTXL) — It’s going to be a big weekend for California Democrats. Party leaders, candidates, and elected officials from across the state are set to convene in Southern California for the annual state Democratic Party Convention.
More than 2,500 people are expected to attend the three-day event, which started Friday morning.
The weekend is all about the party and its overall message, but there is a major topic on a lot of peoples’ minds, the race to decide who will be elected in 2024 to replace retiring Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The three major Democratic candidates in the running, Congressmembers Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee, are expected to make appearances this weekend.
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And while each candidate has his or her own group of Democratic supporters, attendees say there is agreement on one thing.
“Elect a Democrat as a senator, and that’s what we are gearing up for all of this,” said delegate and OC Democratic Party Chair Ada Briceño.
The attendees are there to listen to the candidates and high-profile Democrats including Governor Gavin Newsom and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but as state Party Chair Rusty Hicks explains, there is a larger message.
“The theme of our convention is ‘Don’t agonize, organize,'” Hicks said. “That’s exactly what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to focus on the important work ahead in 2024, make sure we hold the White House, that we re-take the House, strengthen majorities here in the state, and that’s exactly what this convention is about, is preparing for that work ahead.”
But state GOP Chair Jessica Millan Patterson sees it differently, arguing Democratic leadership in California has only made things worse.
“I can guarantee you that this weekend, California Democrats will not be talking about their many failures,” Patterson said. “They will not be talking about the fact that they are 50th in the nation on literacy, they are not going to be talking about they spent $19 billion on homelessness for it to get much worse.”
Hicks said, “Obviously the issues that are affecting all Californians is what Democrats are going to be focusing on. So, issues of climate change, issues of housing, issues of good quality jobs are what this party will be focused on this weekend.”