What Is the Contra Costa County Central Committee…

…and Why Are We Endorsing Candidates for Supervisorial District 1?

Before we get into the gist of this article, CONGRATULATIONS are in order to our Executive Vice President Mister Phillips on the birth of his third child on Sunday, April 10.  He was going to write this article, but I’m sure we can all understand that family matters took precedence.

Since we have not endorsed in the Central Committee election for a long time, if ever, and since we have many new members since last year when Contra Costa County Democratic Party Central Committee (CCCDPCC) Chair Jeff Koertzen made a presentation, our club officers believe it would be beneficial to provide some information about what the partisan central committees are in California, and what they do.

Under the California Elections Code, partisan central committees in each county serve as the official party organization for that county.  With certain exceptions (counties with more than 5 assembly districts, as well as San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento), representatives to the county central committees are elected by Supervisorial District.  

Party Central Committees have the authority to charter organizations, such as clubs, within the county that will use the party’s official name or designation (e.g. Democrat, Democratic) in their name, make official party endorsements, arrange for campaign headquarters, and other partisan activities.

Seats are assigned to each supervisorial district based on the number of voters for each party’s gubernatorial candidate in the most recent election.  In Contra Costa, we have 23 seats as follows:

  • District 1: 5 Seats
  • District 2: 6 Seats
  • District 3: 3 Seats
  • District 4: 5 Seats
  • District 5: 4 Seats

Per our bylaws, the CCCDPCC members are elected every four years during the Presidential primary (June 7, 2016).  As well as the 23 members elected by registered Democrats, our voting members include as ex officio members the elected Democrats or, where no Democrat won, the endorsed Democratic candidates for state and federal office who reside in Contra Costa County, and any individuals who serve as elected officers of the California Democratic Party who reside in or represent a portion of Contra Costa County.  For example, both Hilary Crosby, a Contra Costa resident and the statewide Controller of the CDP, and Royce Kelley, an Alameda County resident and regional director for the CDP region that includes Assembly District 15, are ex officio members, as is State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Each elected and each ex officio member is entitled and encouraged to appoint an alternate who can vote in that member’s absence.  The alternates, as well as other Democrats registered in Contra Costa County can become associate members.  Associate members cannot vote on official CCCDPCC matters, but can serve on subcommittees and vote on subcommittee recommendations to the official body.

The endorsement function of the CCCDPCC is especially important because the CDP provides door hangers to every county committee.  These door hangers come with the statewide, endorsed candidates pre-printed on them, and there is room for the County Committees to print the names of the Congressional, State Senate, Assembly, and local endorsed candidates as well.  These door hangers are distributed to hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats throughout the County.

If County committees endorse against the CDP’s endorsements in the partisan races (statewide, congress, state senate, and Assembly), the CDP may refuse to seat the County Committee’s delegates to the annual state party convention.  However, the county committee has total control over which candidates it endorses, and publically supports on its doorhangers, for the non-partisan races for county, municipal, regional and special district offices.

Historically, the county central committee members have been very interested in the opinions of elected members who live in specific municipalities and districts when considering endorsements for local races.

In addition to endorsements, the CCCDPCC hosts an annual dinner, an annual summer barbecue and an annual holiday party which are all well attended.  These events offer excellent opportunities to meet and talk personally with our elected officials, as well as labor union members and local activists from all across the county.

For more information about our central committee, you can look at the website: http://www.contracostadems.org/

Hilary Crosby