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Stakes are high for California Democratic Party Chair

CDP Chair Town Hall

The California Democratic Party is about to elect its chair for a four-year term, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The Party Chair is responsible for leading the direction of the Democrats in California. The Chair implements election strategy for nearly 60,000 volunteers, engages California voters, and draws in donors. 

There are currently two California Democratic Party Chair candidates:

Rusty Hicks:

Hicks is the current CDP Chair, elected on June 1, 2019. His background is as a labor union activist and party delegate. He was a DSCC delegate for more than 12 years and a former president of the LA County Federation of Labor. As president of the LACFL, he increased the number of women in leadership, fought for the $15 minimum wage, and helped build a jobs program for formerly incarcerated people.[cite]

Hicks has also faced sharp criticism in his short tenure as CDP chair. Under his leadership, California Democrats lost four Congressional seats and two high-priority ballot propositions, despite a landslide victory for Joe Biden. He also is taking some blame for lost and late ballots in the recent party delegate election.[cite]

Delaine Eastin:

Eastin served in the California Assembly and also as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She helped to reduce K-3 class size and also fought to defeat Prop 187, which targeted immigrant students in the classroom. She commissioned the first Education Department LGBT Task Force to support students, and organized the bill for the biggest landfill ever in California.

Eastin had a failed gubernatorial campaign in 2018 where she failed to raise the funds needed, and she hasn’t been in the spotlight like Hicks has.

Right now, the Party is at a crossroads, with a changing population facing significant issues. California is more diverse than ever, with 39% Latinx, 15% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 6% Black.[cite] And the state has 222,795 DACA recipients, more than any other state.[cite] 

That’s why we are holding a candidate forum for Hicks and Eastin on April 7, so Californians can learn about how they plan to make sure the California Democratic Party is fighting for progressive values and the welfare of the people of our state. 

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To be successful, the chair of the Democratic Party must be able to meet these challenges while reaching out to all Californians, of all cultural backgrounds and all economic statuses— and during our CDP Town Hall on April 7, we’re going to ask these candidates to explain just how they are the person for the job.