Today was the Boulder County Democratic Assembly. This is my live blog of the day (first published at Liberal and Loving It).
9:05 - Got my credentials, found the gym, and got connected. Things are operating pretty smoothly (for the Democratic Party - the GOP would be aghast at the disorganization). They have us sitting by precinct (go mighty 161) but I'm not sure why.
Coming in there are a ton of yard signs out for Jake Williams & Matt Jones (the one competitive race here). And both had about 6 or 7 people out front. I'm not in that house district so I miss out on that one.
Jared Polis had about 10 yard signs out - I think that speaks really well of him. He's got a walk but he is still putting in an effort to say he has to earn our vote. (And the signs are recycled from last year - the election date at the bottom is scribbled out.)
Outside there was one giant Bennet sign and no Romanoff signs. Inside about equal on signs. The big difference was walking in there were 6 Bennet supporters singing a Bennet support song with giant smiles and they were all bouncing up and down with energy. Definitely a giant plus. A bit after them were 3 Romanoff supporters looking very serious. In terms of people actively walking around pushing issues, it's mostly Bennet & Amendment 53(?).
9:13 - Suddenly quiet. Pledge of Allegiance. Very emotional.
9:16 - Bunch of stuff about the platform. Pretty much pro-forma (which it has to be in a group this large).
9:17 - Bunch of stuff about what we are doing. This is a much smaller and quieter group than 2 years ago. I figured with Bennet/Romanoff it would be as boisterous as before.
9:20 - Wow, we're now into the speeches. The Boulder County Dem party is incredibly efficient - kudos. Rollie Heath now speaking for Bennet. Starts with both are superb candidates. Speaking of Bennet's efforts on healthcare, the good job he did at DPS. Not a single negative word about Romanoff.
9:22 - Claire Levy - talking about how Bennet hit the ground running and has visited every part of the state (both true).
9:23 - Someone else speaking for Bennet. Again positive but nothing specific for Bennet. Clearly the Bennet supporters are Democrats first and Bennet supporters second - which is really good as both are great candidates.
9:25 - Pat Waak is here! I love her. Great rah-rah speech for all of us. Special congrats for Stan Garnett for stepping up to run. Ends with let's do what's best for Colorado and elect Democrats across the board (damn straight!)
9:28 - Some committee report about something. The report (whatever it was) is approved by acclamation. (For all we know we voted to all be shot in an hour.)
People - turn off your cell phones!!! (Not people reading this, the people at the assembly).
9:30 - We just elected all precinct leaders by acclimation. Weird - no Romanoff speech yet.
9:31 - Bernie Beuscher speaking. He's the first Democratic Sec of State in 45 years (wow). He's giving Boulder a nice thank you and then is going in to his bio. Talking about making it easier to vote (big applause). Bernie is really good - he gives a speech that sounds pretty non-partisan and yet it's a strong argument for Bernie. Talking about how the state Dems have done a phenomenal job both taking care of our money (go Cary Kennedy!) and coming up with a budget that gets us through the recession (go Ritter & legislature).
This is interesting - I think Bernie will provide help to a lot of Dems in this state in his campaigning. Because he lays out a strong argument for Democrats in office. Very good.
9:37 - Stan Garnet introduced - giant applause. Says he's running for AG and gets another giant round of applause. Stan does good in this type of venue - very comfortable up there, walks slowly back and forth and looks at the audience. He's got good stage presence. He's speaking about how he will use the AG office for the people of Colorado and not for certain powerful interest groups. He's now asking for people to step up and help. Closing giant round of applause - he's got enthusiasm here. www.GarnettForAG.com - check it out.
9:42 - Stan is now nominating Joe Pelle for Sherriff. I guess these "nominations" for offices that are a lock are good, but it's hard to get excited over them. With that said, Joe is a really good Sherriff.
9:44 - Joe Pelle speaking - short part for himself, then talking about why we should support Stan Garnett. Well done.
9:45 - Joe Pelle placed on the ballot by acclimation.
9:45 - State Board of Education statewide candidate (did not catch her name). Mostly talking about what they are doing on the board and what she wants to continue working on.
9:48 - Jared Polis introduced and he's getting a rock star reception. "We have a choice to return to the failed republican policies... or move forward with..." Jared is on fire - he is selling what we Dems bring to the table and is doing it really well. Brings up passing HCR and gets a giant round of applause. Replacing (note did not say eliminate) the failed policies of NCLB. Also talked about addressing immigration.
Now going in to speaking for Betsy Markey - "the fighting 4th Congressional District." Talking about the tremendous impact and difference that Betsy has made (boy is that true!). Then discusses getting Betsy in this time, then with redistricting we can make her seat safe (I think Betsy can hold it without redistricting - but hey, every little bit helps).
9:55 - Brandon Shaffer speaking for Hick. Said he is not going to read the speech he was given (Hick's campaign staff must love that). Instead he's discussing Hick's background - when he was fired how he went and opened a brew pub - the giant leap of faith Hick took with his first brew pub. (I appreciate having someone who knows what the start-up life is like as Governor - because that's where new jobs come from.)
Now talking about how Hick comes across as a "first rate average guy." And that this is what voters want - someone like them. That may be true for most voters, personally I want someone so good at the job that I am nothing in comparison. But if it sells, go with it.
10:01 - Joe Neguse - not having to run again for 2 years. So he's just saying thank you and throwing us some red meat. He's a good speaker - I'm guessing we'll see him moving up the political ladder. He's now making a very persuasive argument that this November will be good for us Dems, because of the great political courage and successes we have had over the last couple of months. I agree.
10:05 - SD15(16?) candidate speaking (didn't catch her name). Listing out her qualifications. Her words aren't bad but her presentation is very pedantic. We now have Brandon Shaffer and the Rollie Heath up speaking for her. I'd guess that it's a very competitive seat.
10:10 - now the nomination & acclimation for Cindy Domenico to be re-elected to Boulder County Commissioner. She does a decent job but it sure would be nice if there was an actual choice for these Boulder County seats.
10:13 - And Cindy is on the ballot by acclamation.
10:14 - Another slam dunk - Bob Hullinghorst as County Treasurer. Nomination speech, speech by Bob, on the ballot by acclamation.
10:20 - And another slam dunk - Jerry Roberts as County Assessor. Same story...
10:23 - And another - Hillary "takes forever to count" Hall for County Clerk. Getting a great line of B.S. about what a "great" job Hillary is doing. They have done studies that show the less competent someone is, the more competent they think they are. The reasoning is that because the person does not know enough to accurately judge their skills, their incompetence includes their judgment of their skills. So I do think Hillary is sincere in believing that she is doing a good job. Anyways put on the ballot be acclamation (though I was tempted to yell out no).
10:27 - "Now we actually have a race here" [for County Surveyor]. County Commissioners Perlman & Domenico are speaking for Emery so I'd say the fix is in and he's got it. Emery is speaking and he's a terrible public speaker and didn't say anything about why he should be elected - but he did ask for our support.
10:31 - Rickard is not here for medical reasons. Has someone reading a speech from him. The guy reading the speech has zero presentation skills but the words written by Rickard are good - a listing of why he can do the job well. Great line "I read emails, I return phone calls."
10:34 - 3rd candidate Greenberg - being nominated by his wife (that's sweet). Major advocate for green building. Listing out his skills and background.
Now when we vote - do we put an X in the square of the candidate we don't want :) ?
10:39 - Contribution ask - ok people, pay up!
10:41 - Listing what the Ritter administration and Democratic administration has done they include that they have "cut taxes for 30,000 small businesses." Well speaking for my small business our tax hit went up a bit (which was fine) but the effort we had to put in to pay that tax was way out of proportion. So now the Dems have not lowered taxes for many small businesses. And what they have done is significantly increase the overhead of determining those additional taxes. So I call bullshit on this claim.
10:44 - We're ahead of schedule and so get a 10 minute recess! I dibs the swing set!!
10:57 - Our 10 minute break is now over. It's going to take a couple of minutes for people to drift back in. The rumor is that Andrew Romanoff spoke first at another Assembly and is on his way here. I think it's commendable of the candidates who try to speak in person at as many assemblies as possible.
Ok, here's an idea - when handing out pens for people to mark their ballots, look at the stickers on their shirt. If it's a Romanoff sticker, give them a pen with disappearing ink. Do I have good ideas or what? Funny note (that led to that idea), I borrowed a pen from the person next to me - she was upset when she found out it was so I could mark my ballot for Bennet.
11:13 - They are trying again to restart the meeting. So our 10 minute break was 29 minutes...
11:15 - Asking for a nomination for County Coroner. What happens if there are no nominations? (I offered to nominate the Romanoff supporter next to me - she wanted to know how well it paid.)
11:17 - This is weird. They are going to have the Senate undecided's speak, then Bennet again (that got a number of boo's), then Romanoff. Announces Romanoff has arrived and the place went nuts. Giant response.
11:18 - The guy talking for the undecided's is speaking. He says that he is glad we are having a primary (good point). Speaking about why we need a Democratic Senator. Second undecided speaking, again speaking to the advantages of having Bennet & Romanoff learn from their primary. Hey guys - you're right but they are running close enough that you can make a decision now and the primary will continue.
11:22 - Now we have an undecided who's spending his time talking about publically funded election and why he should be an undecided sent to the state convention. Hey buddy, the idea here is to speak to the vote for undecided, not to elect you specifically.
11:23 - Brandon Shaffer & Rollie Heath again. Giving them a 2ndspeaking slot just feels wrong - it's unfair. (And I'm a Bennet supporter.) Shaffer is pissing people off - he just said a reason to vote for Bennet is that he is married and has children - very low blow Brandon.
11:26 - The Boulder County person is speaking about how it is his screw-up that has the Bennet group speaking twice so blame him, not the Bennet team. I don't think he realizes that the booing was because of what Brandon said, not because it was the 2nd time.
11:27 - Some Bennet employee is talking. Talking about how Bennet is fighting for the things we need. Very strong statement but awfully general.
11:29 - Rollie Heath did a very short classy speech. He handled it well. If this had been the only speech for Bennet the 2nd time they would have been better off.
11:29 - Announcing Romanoff and the crowd erupts. Half the audience on their feet screaming, waving signs, etc. Romanoff easily has more enthusiasm than everyone else put together. Introduced by Paul Weissmann.
11:31 - Romanoff is speaking. Starts with "no matter who wins, we are all one family. I will support the winner of this race even if it is not me." Says the Democratic primary "is like cats fighting - it sounds like they're fighting but they're actually just making more cats." Going in to the fact that this decision is for the people of Colorado, not that interest groups and contributors - and he is doing it in a very positive way.
Now talking about being a party activist and what his activism has done to bring a Democratic majority to this state. Again doing it in a way that has everyone cheering and is positive. Going through the work he has done for the state and gets a giant cheer for "trying to de-Bruce our constitution." Speaking to the work accomplished to improve education spending.
"I am not satisfied yet with the pace of progress in Washington." He's speaking to the glacial pace of the U.S. Senate - which is a very legit point. He's giving a persuasive argument that he will be someone who will not accept the existing system and will make the Democratic Party use their majority to actually effect change quicker.
Closing with a serious passionate speech about the effort he will put in. And use it to improve education, fix the economy, and end our dependency on foreign oil. "Can a single Senator do this on his own? No. But we can." "Not just trolling for dollars on Wall St, but listening to Main St."
11:41 - Speech done - OMG it was good. If this is the new Andrew Romanoff then the Bennet campaign needs to start worrying. Money matters, but so does how the candidate sells himself. Andrew Romanoff was pitch perfect.
11:42 - Getting the how to vote instructions. Smart Romanoff move - they have volunteers walking around offering campaign contribution envelopes.
12:07 - Called back to order and Brandon Shaffer asked for a minute. He said that a lot of people took "one of his remarks" in a way that he did not mean them. He then gave his cell number and email address out for anyone who wanted to talk to him. He then said he was very sorry and did not mean it the way it was taken. Very well done on his part.
12:10 - Motion to adopt the platform, so moved, seconded, ... Oh great - someone asking if we can add something to the platform. People the time to do this was back when they were working their way through this. The Assembly has too many people, and no one has time to research the issue. Ugh.
12:13 - Nice speech from someone saying that there is a very open process for the platform - and please consider if something is so critical that it can't wait for the next round. Decent applause for that.
12:14 - Oh brother, we now have 4 or 5 people proposing different issues to add to the platform. What a waste of time... It's not like this platform will have any impact anywhere. Now we are getting out into nutso land - the last was nationalizing public utilities. Oh yeah, that's a winner.
12:20 - Motion to close debate - had maybe 25 people against it. So 10 minutes wasted because 25 people decided that they were suddenly interested in the platform. Now we vote on it. About 15 people against the platform. Good it's passed, now it can be forgotten.
12:22 - Vote counting still going on. It looks like Hillary Hall is not involved in the counting so it should be complete soon.
12:26 - Called up 6 people who needed to fix their ballots (I assume they weren't signed). One of the 6 - Claire Levy. That got a good round of laughter.
12:38 - Results Bennet 309, uncomitted 29, Romanoff 364. Boulder flipped to Romanoff! Uncommitted did not meet the threshold so they have to vote for Bennet or Romanoff to go to state. Time to make a decision for them.
So why did Boulder flip from Bennet to Romanoff? This put Romanoff ahead by 20% and that's major. Romanoff made a great speech but most people came here with their minds made up. So my guess is that Romanoff got all their people here, including alternates, while Bennet did not. I do know one Bennet alternate that was here and did not get credentials because his precinct had everyone show - so I don't know what is going on with that. Does precinct trump who you're pledged to?
12:48 - Bennet has arrived! Lots of screaming for him. Because the vote is complete and Bennet is our sitting Senator, they are giving him a couple of minutes. Thank you to everyone because it was due to everyone's efforts that healthcare is now the law of the land. When he goes back to D.C. next week, the first order of business is the reform of Wall St. This election is about will we leave more to our children & grandchildren - or will we be the first generation to leave them less. Thank you everyone.
It was a good speech - Bennet is not a barn-burner. But he is getting better. This was smooth, clear, and had people applauding it.
12:56 - Ok for surveyor we have Greenberg 54%, Emery 41%, Rickard 4.8%. Greenberg did come first and Ricket did not make the ballot. Interesting as Emory has all the usual suspects supporting him.
1:03 - Now at the HD13 Assembly - Claire Levy. Everyone is quietly sitting around looking at each other.
1:08 Claire Levy speech. Speaking about how she appreciates having the backing to be one of the most liberal representatives down in the legislature. Listing the work done by the Democrats in the legislature. Threw red meat to this crowd saying we will get rid of CSAP. (Why are people against holding teachers accountable in practice - everyone is in favor of doing that in theory, but then they oppose actually doing it.) Discussing work to force health insurance companies to cover people properly, make the policies understandable, and to remove the items in policies that made being female a pre-existing condition (good one).
Now she's throwing red meat giving them the best of quotes from the Republicans in the legislature. You have to admit the GOP legislators make this so easy.
1:16 - We're now electing people to a couple of party committees.
1:20 - Now electing people to the HD13 Assembly. This is a 5 minute Assembly where you go up to Nederland in a couple of weeks to spend 5 minutes to put Claire Levy on the ballot. I'm always surprised that people volunteer for this. But we got 55.
1:28 - Now the CD-2 and CD-4 Assembly delegate selection. Again a very boring job. They're trying to fill all the slots - begging is so unseemly :)
1:32 - Now SD-16. I'm not in that one. For this one they don't yet know where it is or when - but they need 34 volunteers - they got 22.
1:37 - Now the big enchilada - state Assembly. 49 for Romanoff and 42 for Bennet. Asked how many wanted to go for Romanoff - 56 want it. They are working out who to send really inefficiently - going through alphabetically to get all of them and asking for a couple to volunteer to be alternates. Meanwhile us Bennet supporters sit and wait...
1:54 - Need 42 for Bennet, 43 volunteered. They asked for one to be an alternate and 2 volunteered. So we're good to go. And I'm going to state as a Bennet volunteer!
Also saw this guy over in the cafeteria where both sides were giving away food. He looks sort-of familiar.