The San Diego County Democratic Convention on October 21 was the latest sign that San Diego Democrats are energized, engaged, and ready for victories in 2018. More than 500 community members, volunteers, candidates, and elected officials came together for the seventh biennial event, setting a new attendance record.
The California Center for the Arts in Escondido buzzed with activity, from motivational stump speeches on the main stage to networking and one-on-one campaigning throughout the hallways and grassy lawns of the center. The morning general session featured a stellar lineup of Democrats running for statewide office, including Antonio Villaraigosa and and Treasurer John Chiang, candidates for Governor; Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, candidate for Treasurer; Senator Ricardo Lara, candidate for Insurance Commissioner; Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, candidate for Superintendent of Public Education; and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, candidate for Attorney General.
Following the opening session, guests had their choice of breakout sessions on topics ranging from single-payer health insurance to strategies for engaging young Democrats. An afternoon series of breakouts offered sessions on voter turnout, affordable housing, online organizing tools, and grassroots activism.
Those who attended the Leadership Lunch heard from three prominent California Democrats: Lieutentant Governor (and candidate for Governor) Gavin Newsom; Secretary of State Alex Padilla; and Tom Steyer, founder and president of NextGen America. Steyer's appearance came one day after he announced a $10 million campaign calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump.
After remarks from former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, also a candidate for Governor, the afternoon general session highlighted nearly 30 local candidates for federal, state, and county offices. Convention-goers remained energized throughout the day, rising to their feet numerous times to applaud what they heard from the podium. As the sun began to set, many stayed after the last session to enjoy refreshments, live guitar music, and more conversations at a closing reception.