City Beat

Three prominent Sacramento Democrats were punished for endorsing DA Schubert

Two Sacramento City Council members and a school trustee were kicked off the central committee of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County for endorsing District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert in her successful re-election campaign against Noah Phillips.

Councilmen Steve Hansen and Eric Guerra, and school board member Darrel Woo were all expelled from the party committee Thursday night, said Terry Schanz, the party chairman. Schanz said Hansen, Guerra and Woo violated committee bylaws by supporting Schubert, a Republican.

Her challenger, Phillips, is a Democrat.

"As members of the central committee, it's pretty clear in our bylaws that our job is to elect Democrats," Schanz said.

Phillips conceded to Schubert on Thursday. The most recent vote results show Schubert received 64 percent of the vote to Phillips' 36 percent.

Hansen, Guerra and Woo were elected to the central committee by county Democrats in 2012. All three supported Schanz's opponent in the most recent party chair election. Hansen also defeated Schanz in his first run for City Council in 2012.

"It's political payback," Hansen said.

Guerra called the move "just petty" and said it was "embarrassing" that the party stuck with Phillips after The Bee reported that he joked about a racist and sexist email sent to his county account that detailed what men can expect sexually from women of various ethnic groups. Phillips later apologized for his response.

"They're willing to take this action against a Latino, a gay man and an Asian man, but they backed this guy that used public resources to condone sexist remarks against people of color," Guerra said, referring to himself, Hansen and Woo as the targets of Thursday's vote. "I find it unfortunate that it's the same leadership that is taking these kinds of divisive actions."

Hansen also criticized the local party for its track record in campaigns. In addition to Phillips, the party endorsed and campaigned for Milo Fitch for sheriff. While the sheriff's race remains too close to call, incumbent Sheriff Scott Jones had 53 percent in the most recent posted results, while Fitch had 22 percent.

"They're losing winnable races and they're blaming everyone but themselves," Hansen said.

Schubert on Tuesday changed her voter registration from Republican to no party preference.

Schanz said the reaction to the district attorney's race is part of a broader effort by the party to endorse and support candidates who prioritize criminal justice reform. Phillips was supported by some national organizations seeking to elect reform-minded prosecutors.

"This is not a one-election issue," Schanz said. "Anne Marie Schubert will be on the wrong side of history. She has promoted a culture of mass incarceration."

Hansen and Guerra said they are working with Schubert to expunge the criminal records of people arrested on marijuana crimes before the passage of Proposition 64. Guerra said Schubert's office also has helped crack down on johns targeting sex workers along Stockton Boulevard and has conducted wide outreach to his district's Latino and Asian Pacific Islander communities.

Schubert was endorsed by many of Sacramento's most prominent Democrats, including Mayor Darrell Steinberg, seven members of the City Council and Sacramento County supervisors Phil Serna, Patrick Kennedy and Don Nottoli.

The only Democrat in elected office to rescind an endorsement of Schubert was Sacramento Councilman Allen Warren. The Democratic Party of Sacramento County has not supported Warren in his City Council campaigns. Warren did not endorse Phillips.

The Bee's Marcos Bretón contributed to this report.

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