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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Does Chris Daly Think He's Obi-Wan Kenobi? How Else To Explain Kamikaze Run For Dem Regional Director?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 2:01 PM

click to enlarge This time, the force was not with Chris Daly
  • This time, the force was not with Chris Daly
It turns out Chris Daly's staunchest supporters were indeed surprised by his lopsided, 77-28 loss to incumbent Democratic Party Regional Director August Longo at the weekend's state convention. They were surprised he managed to get 28 votes.

No disrespect to Daly -- but, even according to his backers, he never had a chance at this post. He got into the race late, he was taking on a three-time incumbent with longstanding ties to all the party elected officials, he had members of the building trades out for him with their spades and putty knives, and, finally, ran for a contest in which the voters hailed from the group that may dislike him the most: Democratic party insiders.

"I think this is pretty humiliating -- he lost to a convicted felon. That's pretty bad," said one of the 28 delegates who voted for Daly. "I think he chose the wrong race."

Or did he? Daly hasn't yet returned our call (seems like old times) but the cryptic comment he gave to the media following his defeat -- "Sometimes you need to lose in order to win" -- carried distinct Obi-Wan Kenobi overtones ("If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine") mixed with a dash of the violent ending of John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle.

In short, either Daly believed he was going to win this -- which would make him delusional according to even his close supporters -- or he felt his kamikaze run would lead to gains for the progressives in the long run. That may or may not happen, but we're betting that's what Daly hopes to achieve. 

"Every election cycle there's a new group of people who get involved who are bright-eyed, bushy tailed and somewhat naive. A lot of people [within the party] hope they'll go away -- Barack Obama won. Please go. I think Chris is an organizer and, fundamentally, wants to keep these people involved," said one longtime Daly supporter. Among party insiders, "80 percent supported Hilary Clinton. There's always a disconnect between longtime party insiders and people who get involved in elections ... people who watch this stuff from the outside get pissed off when stuff like this [Daly's heavy defeat] happens. If people say 'We need to change this,' then it will be easier to convince people to run for delegate seats, the central committee. Obama people need to get involved."

Another thought is that Daly is still a supervisor for several years to come -- and party insiders who voted against him but still want to maintain a working relationship may be more inclined to work with Daly on a pet project down the line. "He probably earned some chits he'll be able to cash in later," concurred a Daly voter.

On the other hand, not every Daly backer feels this was an event that warranted much analysis.

"In the grand scheme of things, this was not very important and I have no idea why people got so excited about it on one side or another," says one. "It was much ado about nothing -- or about not very much."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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