253. This one is pure politics, so if that isn't your cup of tea, come back tomorrow which is the blog's First Anniversary
Yesterday, Dr. Jacob Payne, who writes the PageOneKentucky blog, called me out as being the one person "fighting to educate the masses" with regard to the 2008 Democratic Party Reorganization. Notwithstanding Jake's comments, a number of people are doing just that, not just me. The night he attended a political club meeting where I made a presentation on the matter, I was to be joined by a staff member from the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP), who is a resident of Frankfort, who had just returned that day from a well-deserved vacation in the land of the Gators. She had spent the previous six months assiduously working on the election of Steve Beshear so her absence was forgiven, at least by me.
But, having said all that, Jake is right in that there needs to be a greater amount of outreach by the Party to make people feel they are a part of it. This is the essential bottom-line purpose of the quadrennial Reorganization, which in theory takes place throughout the country. It is a process which works its way up from the precinct level to the National Convention. There are open elections along the way and any registered Democrat is eligible to participate at the earliest point which is the Precinct Convention, scheduled this year on April 5. But most people are mostly interested in How To Become A Delegate To The National Convention. And to be honest, I am not sure I know the answer to the question "How To Become A Delegate To The National Convention?". But, there is a link on the KDP web page (Jake linked to it in his entry) which explains the process, but not in any clarified way.
One thing to keep in mind with regard to the National Convention and its delegates is that there aren't that many slots. According to the latest calculations, Kentucky's delegation in Denver will have a total of 63 delegates, some of whom will go without going through the rigors of a Delegate Selection Process. Those 63 people will be representing the 1,622,526 or so Democrats registered in Commonwealth. Sixty-three out of One Million Six Hundred Twenty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Twenty-Six means that a whole lot of people who may want to be a delegate simply aren't going to be. Of that 63, six will go by virtue of their elected or political office, people such as the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro or the Chairwoman of the Party or the allegedly anti-Christian congressman from Kentucky's Third District. Another eight will be going only as alternates in case the Mile-High air malaffects one of our chosen few. The opportunities get narrower and narrower.
Which brings me to the second part of this entry. What many of those same activist-Democrats may want to consider for their Kentucky Democratic Party is participation at the Precinct, Legislative District (in Jefferson and Fayette counties), County, Congressional, and State Conventions processes. As stated earlier, the Precinct Conventions, which in Jefferson County elect the Legislative District chairs and vice chairs, are slated for April 5. On April 12, those elected at the Precinct level will move up to the Legislative District level in Jefferson and Fayette, and to the County Executive Committee level elsewhere. Jefferson County requires filing papers for those wishing to seek office to its Executive Committee. Those papers must be filed by January 29 at the local Headquarters at 640 Barret Avenue, just north of East Broadway. But the precinct elections themselves are open to any registered Democrat who bothers to show up at their polling place at 10:00 am on the 5th. Those who do will gather, at the door of where they would normally go in to vote, and elect first a permanent chair and secretary, then a Committeeman, Committeewoman, and Committeeyouth. There have been a few elections when I showed up at the old Camp Taylor Fire House in precinct H-121 that I was the only person there. Naturally, the folks I supported won those elections.
And the role of these Precinct committeepeople is somewhat misunderstood. There was a time when their presence was required to nominate candidates in the event of a Special Election, especially for the legislature. And while such elections seems few and far between, we are in the throes of a series of them right now and the process for nominating is presently the subject of an Appeal to the State Central Executive Committee, which is to be resolved tomorrow evening. During my guest blogging at BluegrassReport.org, I spoke of plans of the State Central Executive Committee to rewrite the rules for these Special Nominations, and I invited comments from anyone interested, and three people responded. Obviously, the need is there to clearly communicate the process through the By-Laws in unmuddled words, and presently that is not the case. But, I digress.
On April 12, the Precinct committeepeople elected the previous week will gather to elect the County Executive Committees for Kentucky's 120 counties. In 118 counties, that is a one-part process, while in Jefferson and Fayette, it is a two-part, but it all happens on April 12. Again, in Jefferson, filing is required and that must be done by January 29. I am not aware if any other counties require filing, but if you are interested in your County Executive Committee, I'd recommend calling your County Headquarters or contacting your County Chair. The Jefferson County number is 582-1999.
Another thing that happens on April 12, at least according to the State Party By-Laws, is the selection from the Counties and Legislative Districts those persons who will be delegates to the Congressional District Conventions and the State Convention, both presently scheduled to be held on June 7, at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, respectively. However, in the Delegate Selection Plan on the KDP webiste is the mention of a May 31 election to do the same thing. I need to learn what this is, and if it what is says it is, why is it being held on May 31 instead of April 12 in accordance with the By-Laws? Hopefully someone at Headquarters can provide me with an answer to that.
In any event, eventually we will hold our Kentucky Democratic Party State Convention, that eventuality to be on June 7 and presently scheduled to be in Lexington, although it may be in Frankfort. And, in the morning meetings of the Congressional District Conventions, five people from each of Kentucky's six congressional districts will be elected to serve on the State Central Executive Committee, the controlling authority of the Kentucky Democratic Party. I ran for a seat on this committee six times unsuccessfully before finally being elected on my seventh try in 2004. I intend to run for re-election this June.
I will be writing more about this at another time, so stay tuned. Below is a Calendar of Events, as best I understand them at the present time. But, they seem to be subject to revision.
January 29 - Filing deadline for Jefferson County LD Chairs and Vice Chairs.
February 1 - Forms available from KDP for Delegate and Alternate candidates for the National Convention.
April 5 - Precinct Conventions held at 10:00am at the usual polling place's front door.
April 12 - Legislative District and/or County Conventions held. Also, according to the By-Laws, delegates will be elected for the Congressional District Convention and the State Convention from each LD and/or County.
May 15 - Filing deadline at KDP HQ in Frankfort for the Congressional District level delegates and alternates candidates to the National Convention. Also due are Pledge of Support forms.
May 15 - Filing deadline for the Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEOs), with their Pledge of Support forms.
May 15 - Filing deadline for the At-Large delegates and alternates candidates, with their Pledge of Support forms.
May 15 is an important deadline if you are interested in attending the National Convention.
May 20 - Primary Election Day - polls are open from 6 to 6, local time.
May 26 - This is tricky and not something I can fully explain. Presidential candidates provide list of approved district-level delegate and alternate candidates, standing committee members, and PLEO’s to State Party. Primary winners have a lot of say in who actually becomes a delegate and/or alternate to the National Convention.
May 31 - This is the event I am not sure of. According to the KDP Delegate Selection Plan, County and LD Caucuses will elect delegates to the Congressional District and State Conventions. The By-Laws say this will be done on April 12.
June 7 - Congressional District Convention and State Party Convention meet. The State Party will provide a list of PLEO candidates, district-level delegate and alternate candidates, and at-large delegate and alternate candidates to the respective Presidential candidates. The Conventions will elect delegates and alternates to the National Convention. Unpledged and add-on delegates will also be chosen. I do not really know what an add-on delegate is. By the end of the day, all persons seeking to go to the National Convention will know if they actually are or not.
There will be 31 District-Level Delegates; 10 At-Large Delegates; 6 Pledged PLEOs; 8 Unpledged Delegates; and 8 Alternates. These 63 people will represent Kentucky at the National Convention.
I've written enough for one day.