To the matter of Kamala Harris, Antonio Villaraigosa and political slights – whether real or perceived – on Friday came Shawnda Westly, executive director of the California Democratic Party.
First, the set-up, which unfolded as a panel of experts began discussing California’s U.S. Senate race next year.
“There is a resentment,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst at the University of Southern California, “that Washington is attempting to anoint the Democratic candidate for the election, and I don’t think it bodes well – I don’t think it bodes well for the party, I don’t think it bodes well for the state.”
While Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, is considering running for the Senate seat Barbara Boxer is leaving, Harris has already announced her candidacy and is trotting out endorsement after endorsement – including from the East Coast.
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Westly flagged the moderator from her end of the table of panelists.
“I love this theory of a conspiracy, an anointment,” she said. “From my vantage point, I’m looking at a statewide elected official who has a strong electoral record winning statewide the last two election cycles, who has a national donor network and who is the only declared candidate and who is announcing endorsements that she has received. That is not a conspiracy. That is called effective campaigning.”
She paused before adding, “But I guess we only call it that when a man does it.”
“Yeah,” Westly said. “Oh, you heard me.”
Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.