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Democratic candidates fail to secure endorsements at convention

Jerry BrownJohn Burton

Despite fervent courting of delegates at the California Democratic Party convention this weekend, no statewide candidate in a contested race received enough votes to capture the party’s endorsement, an official said Sunday.

Candidates needed 60% of the vote to obtain the party’s imprimatur, which can be a key signal to voters, especially in low visibility down-ballot races. Many credit Dave Jones’ 2010 party endorsement as critical to his election that year as the state’s insurance commissioner.

State Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, running for secretary of state, came closest this weekend, receiving 58.7% of the vote. Major rivals Leeland Yee, a state senator from the Bay Area, and Common Cause executive Derek Cressman each received a little over one-tenth of the ballots cast.

Nearly one in five delegates voted to not issue an endorsement.

In the race for state controller, Assembly Speaker John Pérez of Los Angeles received nearly 48% of the vote, and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee received nearly 45%.

State party Chairman John Burton had urged the candidates to not seek the party’s nod, arguing that the hunt was divisive and the resources spent on the effort could be better spent contacting voters. But many of the candidates aggressively wooed delegates anyway at the gathering in downtown Los Angeles.

Small armies of young volunteers waved signs, handed out campaign stickers and chanted their candidates'  names.

Pérez hosted a "taco truck throwdown" outside the Convention Center on Saturday afternoon. Padilla helped host a party at the Conga Room on Friday night, and had his name and campaign logo printed on hotel key cards.

Volunteers for controller candidate Betty Yee, a Board of Equalization member, distributed apple pecan bars with her name on the wrappers.

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

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