California Democrats select convention delegation leaders but leave out Governor Newsom

State Democrats added to their convention leadership list Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee

Last Updated:
June 29, 2020 - 1:58pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

California Democrats' choices to lead their delegation at the 2020 Democratic National Convention will not include the state's top Democrat – Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The 495-member state delegation has instead picked Bay Area Reps. Ro Khanna and Rep. Barbara Lee to join Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis as the co-chairmen, leaving out the state's highest-ranking member, who traditionally leads the state contingent.

Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party, told delegates during a Sunday morning phone call that the three “will represent the great diversity of California," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The delegate vote was reportedly 368–20 and was an attempt to end the state party schism between supporters for Sen. Bernie Sanders and his progressive agenda and those for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who represents the party's more moderate wing. Sanders this spring conceded the race to Biden, after having to concede to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“We were eager to have Ro Khanna as chair because he reflects the Sanders campaign,” said Norman Solomon, an Inverness resident who is national director of RootsAction.org, a progressive group that supported the Vermont senator. Khanna “articulates those views so clearly, showing this is not a time for murkiness or hedging.”

While the ballots of California delegates will be needed to help Biden secure the nomination, delegates from across the country are being asked not to attend the convention in Milwaukee to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Progressive Democrats managed to block Newsom who in May endorsed Joe Biden, from having a leading role in the delegation.

Newsom praised the announcement Sunday.

“Never been a more urgent election  –  and CA Democrats have never been more energized, united and ready to elect our next President," he tweeted. "At this moment in history, I’m proud that our Delegation will be chaired by those who reflect the diversity and dynamism of our great state.”

Khanna said "having a Sanders supporter at the head of the delegation means a lot.” Khanna said it was important to remember that “Biden’s campaign was willing to acknowledge Sanders’ victory in California will help unify the delegates.”

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