Santa Monica Democratic Club members (SMDC) voted at their January 31st meeting to endorse District Attorney George Gascon for re-election as Los Angeles County’s highest-ranking prosecutor. The members also voted to endorse Measure 1, which would increase state funding for mental health care. SMDC also voted to endorse Assemblymember Rich Chavez Zbur (AD 51) for re-election, six judicial candidates, and seven candidates to represent Assembly District 51 on the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee.

All races endorsed will be on the March primary ballot that voters will begin receiving by mail this week.

There were 118 voting members in attendance at the hybrid zoom and in-person meeting at the Thelma Terry Center in Santa Monica. In order to secure endorsement, all candidates needed to earn 55% or more of the members’ votes. George Gascon won endorsement with 65% of the vote, with the rest of the field far behind. Jeff Chemerinsky placed in second with just 18%.

“Our membership spoke clearly this primary season in favor of progressive candidates,” said Club President Jon Katz. “Although he’s faced a lot of opposition from those afraid of meaningful systemic change, DA Gascón has been a beacon of the kind of change we want in our community. His reforms for the Los Angeles criminal justice system reflect our long history of Santa
Monica progressive values which we’ll be fighting for the rest of this year from the Presidency on down to City Council.”

SMDC also voted to support Measure 1, a statewide ballot measure that would focus billions of dollars in existing funds to prioritize Californians with the deepest mental health needs and expand mental health and addiction services for tens of thousands of Californians each year, including veterans who are experiencing homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse issues. 68% of members voted to support the measure, which was also endorsed by the Santa Monica City Council in January.

SMDC members also voted to endorse candidates in six of the eight County judicial races. The endorsed judicial candidates were: George Turner for Judicial Seat #39; Ericka Wylie for Judicial Seat #48; Sharon Ransom for Judicial Seat #97; Kimberly Repecka for Judicial Seat #124; Leslie Gutierrez for Judicial Seat #130; and Georgia Huerta for Judicial Seat #135. SMDC did not achieve consensus for Judicial Seats #115 or #137.

Twelve candidates sought SMDC’s endorsement for the seven available positions on the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee in Assembly District 51, which includes Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, parts of Hollywood, West Hollywood, and Westwood Village. SMDC members voted to endorse the following candidates: Susan Sheu, Danielle Wilson, Isabel Storey,
Michael Soloff, Eddie Mendoza, Erick Matos and Deana Igelsrud.

In every race up for consideration at the meeting, a threshold of 55% was required to receive the club’s endorsement.

The Santa Monica Democratic Club will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, February 28, when they will consider the policy of pretextual stops by police as well as issues surrounding mobility in Santa Monica. The Club’s upcoming activities include opportunities to canvass and phone bank for Congressional races in neighboring CA-27 and phone bank for Democratic Candidates Tom Suozzi in the February Special Election for NY-03, to replace George Santos, who was expelled from Congress in late 2023 for campaign finance misconduct and other criminal allegations.

For more information about the Club and to RSVP for their upcoming meetings, visit www.santamonicademocrats.com and sign up for the newsletter or follow the Club on Facebook (facebook.com/santamonicademocrats) and Instagram @santamonicademocrats.

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