The San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stone

Some 3,400 delegates to the California Democratic Party State Convention will vote Saturday on endorsements for governor, U.S. senator, other statewide offices and the Board of Equalization.

A candidate must receive 60 percent of the votes cast at the San Diego Convention Center to receive an endorsement.

Since the “Top Two” system where the top two vote-getters in a primary election advance to the general election regardless of party went into effect in 2012, nearly all candidates endorsed by the California Democratic Party have advanced to the general election, according to John Vigna, the party’s communications director.

Vote counting is not expected to conclude until late in the evening, Vigna said.

Keynote speeches will be delivered Saturday by Sens. Kamala Harris, D- California, and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D- San Francisco, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, billionaire Tom Steyer, founder and president of the activist group NextGen America, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas.

Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang and Delaine Eastin are set to speak Saturday, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and her challengers, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Pat Harris.

Lieutenant governor candidates Jeff Bleich, Ed Hernandez and Eleni Kounalakis will participate together in a forum Saturday. Candidates for other statewide offices will also speak Saturday as well.

The general sessions will also include programs on mobilizing women to run for office and vote, a celebration of black voters, a series of speeches by labor leaders and millennial elected and party officials.

Saturday’s luncheon program will feature California Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman and remarks by national politics and policy journalist David Dayen and Jon Lovett, who was a presidential speechwriter for Barack Obama and now hosts the weekly podcast “Lovett or Leave It.”

The dinner program Saturday will feature Democrats serving in municipal offices discussing the policies they have implemented. San Diego City Council President Myrtle Cole will be the master of ceremonies.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Garvey Unified School District Trustee Henry Lo and Palm Springs City Councilwoman Lisa Middleton, the first transgender person elected to a city council in California, are set to speak.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will conclude the program by discussing the interplay between city government and the federal government.

The delegates will adopt the 2018 party platform Sunday and ratify endorsements for congressional and legislative races made earlier at pre- endorsing conferences and endorsement caucuses .

The three-day convention began Friday with a series of caucus meetings, workshops  and panel discussions.

—City News Service

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