Anyone expecting a tense Clinton-vs.-Obama showdown when pledged district delegates to the Democratic National Convention met in Sacramento on Sunday to pick the rest of the delegation -- 5 unpledged add-ons, 48 pledged elected officials and 81 statewide at-large delegates. The two presidential campaigns had mutually agreed on the slates, and the business of the delegate meeting was completed in about 20 minutes without a dissenting vote.
Former Controller Steve Westly, co-chairman of Obama's California campaign, nominated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Clinton supporter, to be chair of the state delegation, and she was elected by voice vote.
Chairman Art Torres said the prolonged contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, rather than being a potentially divisive problem, has been "healthy for the party."
He had some numbers to back up that assertion: Between Jan. 3 and April 4, 93 percent of new voter registrations in California were Democrats. "We've turned Ventura County blue, we've turned San Joaquin County blue and Stanlislaus County is close behind," he said. Getting people energized during the primary season has created "our army for November... We will come together as we always do."
In keeping with national party guidelines, the California delegation will be remarkably diverse: 26 percent Latino, 16 percent African-American, 12 percent gay or lesbian, 10 percent 30 or under, 10 percent disabled, 9 percent Asian-Pacific Islander, 1 percent Native American, with a 50-50 split by gender.
The California delegation will truly be the 800-pound gorilla when national Democrats convene in Denver. It includes 554 delegates, alternates and standing committee members. In second place will be New York, with 280.