Capitol Alert

Chairman John Burton won’t go to Democratic National Convention

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, then-President Pro Tem of the state Senate, talks with reporters at the Capitol in 2004.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, then-President Pro Tem of the state Senate, talks with reporters at the Capitol in 2004. The Sacramento Bee

John Burton, in his last year as chairman of the California Democratic Party, said Friday he doesn’t plan to attend the national convention later this month in Philadelphia.

Instead, the 83-year-old former congressman and state legislator will give his seat to a young Latino “Dreamer,” “helping bring a new generation into the process,” Burton said.

The party announced Thursday that Gov. Jerry Brown will lead the state’s delegation in Philadelphia. The fourth-term governor will join the next wave of California Democrats, from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris to Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Treasurer John Chiang.

Burton said Bernie Sanders’ concession and endorsement of Hillary Clinton eliminated any doubt about her becoming the party’s presidential nominee. And Burton likes to be there when it matters.

The famously profane Burton was customarily blunt, and humorous, about his relevance this year.

“If there was a contribution I could make (in Philadelphia), and I don’t know what that would be, then I would have gone,” he said. “There was nothing I could add or detract from the deal.”

Burton, who attended his first convention in 1960, left the 2012 event in Charlotte early and returned to California for a previously scheduled root canal. He is scheduled to step down from the chairmanship post next spring.

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, appearing at a state party convention this year, says Donald Trump is a "phenomenon."

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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