Lou Peck of Bethesda Magazine has more background on the African-American Democratic Club’s endorsement of Jamie Raskin last night:
Thursday’s announcement that the African-American Democratic Club of Montgomery County had voted to support state Sen. Jamie Raskin in the District 8 congressional race roiled some rival political camps—amid questions over the degree to which the endorsement reflects the sentiments of the county’s sizable bloc of black Democrats.
At a meeting the evening prior to the announcement of the endorsement, club members voted by a 20-12 margin to support Raskin, a Takoma Park resident, over former Obama administration Will Jawando, who is black. One vote went to Del. Kumar Barve of Rockville, who is Indian-American. The club has a total membership of 117, according to African-American Democratic Club President Laurie-Anne Sayles.
“It appears that the vote was not representative of the club’s membership or the African-American community,” Jawando said today when asked for comment. “That’s unfortunate for all parties concerned.”
Sayles acknowledged that Wednesday’s outcome was determined by proxy votes sent in by those who did not attend the meeting at which ballots were cast. She said Jawando had come out on top by 11-8 among those actually present. However, 12 proxies were received favoring Raskin, as opposed to just one for Jawando. “If proxies had not been sent in, [Will] would have won,” Sayles said.
But she dismissed as “totally incorrect” the suggestions in some party circles that the proxy votes had been in large measure cast by white members of the African-American Democratic Club. White members comprise about 20-25 percent of the group’s dues paying members entitled to vote in the endorsement process.
“More than half of the people who sent in proxies were non-white,” she said.
I hope I’m not the only person who finds it ironic that a group representing African-American voters requires a payment in order to vote? And proxy voting seems similarly problematic, especially when it swings so heavily in a direction different than the votes cast by those actually present.
Not pointing any fingers here, either at candidates or the AADCMC, just observing that this process as it played out last night seems very, very problematic and looks bad for all concerned.