Despite the fact that some of the delegates were appointed by officials who conditioned their appointment on voting in his favor, Huffman received endorsement votes from just under 48 percent of the delegates. In sharp contrast to the balloting on the same day for Michael Allen and Wes Chesbro (two of his fellow Assembly members seeking re-election who received overwhelming support from party delegates), more than half of the Democratic Party delegates rejected Huffman’s candidacy.
Solomon was the choice on most of the remaining ballots, receiving 37 votes. Susan Adams received 12 votes and Stacey Lawson received 2 votes. Nineteen votes were cast for “no endorsement.”
“Since I launched our campaign, I’ve been running as the grassroots candidate. This vote is further proof that our issues-driven campaign continues to take hold throughout the district,” Solomon said.
The pivotal January 21 decision means the Democratic Party will not endorse or devote any resources to supporting Huffman before the June 5 primary election. As a career politician with a history of receiving large corporate campaign donations, Huffman faces an increasingly tough challenge from Solomon, an independent progressive Democrat who is refusing to accept any corporate PAC money.
The setback for Huffman comes after the latest released poll in the race found Solomon was just 5 points behind him in the contest for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That poll was conducted last fall by Lake Research Partners, a firm that has done polling for such legislators as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
“Huffman’s failure to gain the support of the Democratic Party amounts to a no-confidence vote,” said Solomon’s campaign manager Dan Mullen. “And now he has to explain to those in Sacramento who appointed delegates on his behalf why he couldn’t win the endorsement despite their horse-trading.”
Solomon’s Democratic Party victory comes on the heels of his barnstorming tour that featured him and legendary TV public-affairs pioneer Phil Donahue. Spanning much of the new North Coast district, the tour brought out more than 2,000 residents in Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties.