the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

September 8, 2008

Democratic State Committee Candidates


Besides the primary for elected officials, the other election happening tomorrow (on the same ballots) is that for most members of the DC Democratic State Committee (DSC, the local branch of the Democratic Party), including DC’s representatives on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — who will be superdelegates in 2012.

The DCDSC consists of about 80 members, and 48 of them are being elected tomorrow:

Since you won’t be voting for the ward-level members for wards other than your own, you’ll only see 20 of the positions on the ballot. Voting for the DNC positions is normal, and for the DSC positions you’ll vote for up to 6 from each at-large list and up to 2 from each ward-level list.

Most DSC and DNC candidates are affiliated with a slate, which is indicated next to their names on the ballot. Confusingly, but not surprisingly, this year every slate name includes the name “Obama”. The largest slate, and the only only that’s running a candidate for every slot, is the bizarrely named Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain. It’s a mix of incumbents and challengers and includes a lot of people I know from grassroots groups. It’s been endorsed by DC for Democracy, DC for Obama, and City Paper’s Loose Lips (though he didn’t endorse the DNC candidates).

The other citywide slates are called Obama for DC (note: not endorsed by DC for Obama) and Obama for Change. There are also ward-specific slates named Ward 3 Dems for Obama & Change and Obama’s Ward One Democrats. DCist has a pretty good writeup.

Hopelessly confused? My advice is just to look for the “4″ and vote Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain. If a critical mass of them gets elected, then maybe there’s some hope of making the local party functional.

Vote Tuesday in the DC Democratic Primary


Tuesday, September 9, is primary day here DC. If you’re a Democrat, Republican, or State Green Party member who’s been registered to vote in DC for at least 30 days, be sure to get to the polls. See the Board of Elections and Ethics site for information.

If you live in Ward 2, 4, 7, or 8, there’s an election for ward-level council member this year. In other wards, you’ll be voting only for citywide elected officials. I’ve listed the Democratic candidates below (incumbents are marked with asterisks, websites are linked when I could find them):

DC Democrats will also be electing members of the local party organization, the DC Democratic State Committee. I’ll have a separate post about that.

April 21, 2008

Pennsylvania Primary Watch at 17th Cafe


Join DC Drinking Liberally and our friends from DC for Democracy and the Seminal as we gather to watch returns from the latest episode in the Democratic contest: the Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday, April 22. We’ll be welcoming some DC4D members who’ll have just come back from days of volunteering for Obama in Pennsylvania, so you can hear their impressions as the numbers come in.

The event will be at what’s become our traditional TV-watching spot: upstairs at 17th Street Cafe (1513 17th St NW, between P and Q, a few blocks east of Dupont Circle). The polls close at 8pm, so some of us will be there by 7:30, and we’ll be hanging out as long as things remain interesting and the restaurant is still open.

March 24, 2008

DC’s Democratic Convention Delegates: Who’s Going to Denver, and How Will They Vote?


The District of Columbia will be sending 39 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August, and at this point all but 7 of those delegates have been selected. Of the 39, 15 are pledged delegates allocated according to the results of the February 12 primary, and 24 are unpledged delegates, also known as superdelegates.

DC has an unusually large number of superdelegates because a lot of at-large members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) live here. Even though those DNC members are part of the DC convention delegation, they don’t really represent DC. If one moved to Virginia, for example, before the convention, then that superdelegate position would move with them, and DC would lose one delegate while Virginia gained one.

Pledged delegates

The 15 pledged delegates consist of 10 district-level delegates, 3 at-large delegates, and 2 pledged PLEO (party leader and elected official) delegates.

District-level delegates. DC has no vote in Congress, so it has no congressional districts, but the city is divided into two fake congressional districts for the purpose of assigning delegates. District 1 is Wards 1 through 4, and District 2 is Wards 5 through 8. Five delegates are selected from each district.

A pool of possible delegates for the various candidates was selected in the pre-primary caucus on January 19 (photos), and then the final delegate selection was determined by the primary on February 12. Since Obama won 70.6 percent of the vote (after eliminating nonviable candidates) in District 1 and 81.9 percent in District 2, he gets 4 of the 5 delegates in each, and Clinton gets 1 in each. There are also slots for alternates — 1 for District 1 and 2 for District 2 — which all go to Obama. Here are the district-level delegates, as announced by the DC Democratic State Committee (DSDSC):

At-large delegates. An additional 3 delegates are allocated on the basis of the overall vote. Since Obama received 76.0%, he gets 2 of the 3, and Clinton gets 1. There’s also 1 alternate, who will be pledged to Obama. These delegates will be selected by the DCDSC on May 1.

Pledged PLEOs. The 2 pledge PLEO positions are also allocated on the basis of the overall vote. As far as I can tell from the calculation method in the DNC rules, that should mean Obama gets both, but I’ve heard that it’s been decided that Obama and Clinton get 1 each. I’m trying to find out more. The Obama position will probably go to DC Council chair Vincent Gray, as the highest ranking Democrat who doesn’t automatically get a superdelegate position. If the second slot goes to Clinton, that position will likely be filled by the Council’s president pro tem, Jack Evans. The decision will be made by the DCDSC on April 3.

Unpledged delegates (superdelegates)

Unpledged delegates need not declare which candidate they support until it’s time for them to vote at the convention. Many do endorse a candidate earlier, though they can always change their minds. DC’s unpledged delegates are made up of 4 elected officials, 18 DNC members, and 2 unpledged add-on delegates.

Elected officials. Since the DNC convention rules treat DC like a state, the mayor counts as a governor, the two shadow senators count as full senators, and the delegate to the House of Representatives counts as a full House member. All are automatically superdelegates as long as they are Democrats, which they all are. All four have also endorsed Obama (Mayor Fenty was his campaign chair in DC):

DNC members. Like the states, DC has representation on the DNC, including the chair and vice chair of the DCDSC. There are also 14 other DNC members who happen to live in DC now. Some of the DNC members have expressed their support for Clinton or Obama, and others have not declared one way or another, as shown below (my information comes from DemConWatch):

Unpledged add-ons. The remaining 2 unpledged delegates are the add-ons, who will be selected by the DCDSC on April 3. There’s been some confusion about whether one of these slots is reserved for the shadow representative. In 2004, shadow rep Ray Browne went as an add-on, and Mike Panetta, the current shadow rep, hopes to do the same.


As things currently stand, it appears that the 39 delegates from DC will include 19 Obama supporters and 14 Clinton supporters. The positions of the remaining 6 — the 4 undeclared DNC members and the 2 add-ons — are unknown.

Update (25 Mar, 10:13am): Clarified last sentence.

February 11, 2008

Potomac Primary or Chesapeake Primary?


Judging by Google News search results, journalists seeking a name for the February 12 primary in DC, Maryland, and Virginia are breaking in favor of alliteration:

I prefer “Chesapeake primary” myself, because it covers the widest area. The vast majority of voters in tomorrow’s primary are not in the DC area. Besides, I don’t want my brother’s head to explode.

At least the odious name “Beltway primary” is losing badly.

Regardless of what you call it, if you’re a registered Democrat in DC or Maryland, or a registered voter of any sort in Virginia, make sure you get to the polls tomorrow. It’s not often that those of us outside the early states actually get a say in who our presidential candidate is, so let’s make the most of it. And if you’re having trouble deciding, the correct answer is Barack Obama!

January 13, 2008

Registration Deadlines for Voting in Presidential Primary


I should have posted this last week, but for local residents not yet registered to vote, time is running out if you want to participate in the presidential primary. In both Virginia and DC, Monday, January 14, is the deadline for registering to vote in the February 12 presidential primary election. For information, see the Virginia State Board of Elections or the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.

Maryland residents have until Tuesday, January 22, to register for their primary, which is also February 12 (see the Maryland State Board of Elections). The Maryland primary covers other races in addition to president. For example, Democrats in the 4th Congressional District will be deciding whether the progressive Donna Edwards will unseat the more conservative Rep. Al Wynn, so if you live in that district make sure you’re registered even if you think the presidential nomination will already have been decided by the time you get a chance to vote.

October 10, 2007

DC for Democracy’s Instant-Runoff-Based Endorsement Vote


[I wrote this for the DC for Democracy site but thought I’d post it here too for other people who might be interested in the endorsement method as well as the levels of support of various candidates among one segment of the progressive grassroots in DC (plus I haven’t posted anything here for a while).]

On October 3, DC for Democracy endorsed Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary. It was the first time the group used a new procedure based on instant-runoff voting (IRV) that they adopted last month. Since both DC4D members and outsiders may be interested in seeing exactly how the result was arrived at, as well as how much support various candidates had, I thought I’d go through the details.

The bottom line is that Obama got 53 percent of the first-choice votes plus another 16 percent from second-choice votes, for a total of 69 percent support (which exceeds the two thirds required for endorsement), and Edwards came in second, with 49 percent support (split evenly between first-choice and second-choice votes). See below for colorful charts and perhaps more than you want to know about the vote.


August 16, 2007

Democratic Debate Watch Party Sunday — With Straw Poll


The DC Democratic State Committee is hosting a party to watch the Iowa Democratic presidential “debate” this Sunday, August 19, from 2 to 5pm at Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St NW (14th and V, near the U Street Metro):

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (LANGSTON ROOM) - Iowa Democratic Presidential Debate Watch Party. Join the DC Democratic Party for a viewing of the Iowa Democratic Presidential Debate. A Presidential Preference STRAW POLL and raffle for dinner for two will be held. FREE Buffet. Mimosa and Bloody Mary Drink Specials. This event is co-sponsored by Busboys and Poets, Concilman Jack Evans & The Ward 2 Democrats, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, DC Asian Pacific Islanders American Democratic Caucus, Women’s Information Network, and Concilman Jim Graham & The Ward 1 Democrats. For more information, contact DC Democratic Party at (202) 737-DEMS or http://www.dcdsc.org/. $20 Donation Requested.

The debate is actually in the morning, too early for most of us to watch it live on a Sunday, so they’ll be recording it to play it in the afternoon.

June 27, 2007

Watch the Democratic Presidential Candidates Thursday


The eight Democratic candidates (Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson) will be at Howard University on Thursday, June 28, for the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, moderated by Tavis Smiley, from 9 to 10:30pm. We’ll be watching it in the back room at Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, a few blocks north of Dupont Circle) after our usual Thursday DCDL get-together, and friends from DC for Democracy will be joining us. So stop by any time after 6:30 — for a few minutes to say hello or for the whole marathon session!

I’ll be interested to see whether at a forum in DC anyone raises the question of DC’s lack of congressional representation. If the questioners don’t, the candidates had better. Presumably Clinton and Obama are proud to be cosponsors of S. 1257, the bill to partially address the inequity.

You’ll be glad to know that you won’t have to bring a barf bag to handle your reaction to Republican pollster Frank Luntz’s post-forum analysis. After Jeffrey Feldman, Media Matters, and others called attention to PBS’s inappropriate choice of analyst, PBS clarified (or perhaps “clarified”) that Luntz would not be appearing to spew his propaganda until Friday. The legacy of Ken Tomlinson’s attempt to “balance” public broadcasting apparently continues.

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May 2, 2007

DC for Democracy Gearing Up for Presidential Primary


The local grassroots group DC for Democracy has its monthly meeting tonight. They’re getting ready to kick off their presidential primary efforts, so they’re seeking input. If you’re looking to get involved in a group, this would be a great time to check out DC4D.

There will also be an update on the status of DC voting rights and some information about the upcoming Picnic in the Park fundraiser (mark your calendar for May 19).

Wednesday, May 2, 7pm
Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1213 U St NW (back room)
(across the street from U Street Metro, Green/Yellow Line)


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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