Bay Area progressive activist Kimberly Ellis is making another run at leading the state’s Democratic Party, she announced December 20.
Ellis burst onto the state political scene in 2017 when she narrowly lost the chairmanship to then-Los Angeles Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman.
Last month, Bauman was forced to resign after he was accused of misconduct, throwing the party into turmoil over its leadership. In an investigation by The Times, 10 party staffers and political activists alleged that Bauman made inappropriate sexual comments in professional settings and engaged in unwanted touching.
“Right now, who we are as a party has come starkly into question,” Ellis wrote in an email to supporters. “We – elected leaders, the labor community, delegates and activists, have to find an answer, and find it quickly.”
“After deep consideration and long conversations with delegates, elected officials, labor leaders, social justice advocates and Party activists who urged me to consider taking up the mantle, I’ve decided to answer the call and run for Chair of the California Democratic Party.”
Citing what she called a “collapse” in state party leadership, Ellis said she’s hoping to help “reform the tone, tenor and culture of the California Democratic Party and rebuild the trust that has been broken.”
Ellis is the first Democrat to announce a campaign for the chair’s race, which is expected to be settled at a May state party convention in San Francisco.
Her bid comes as interim chair Alexandra Gallardo- Rooker is facing criticism from some in the party during her first three weeks in the post. Last week, she fired seven top staffers and closed the party’s Los Angeles office.
The moves riled some state party delegates, who said they were troubled the decisions were made during an ongoing investigation into Bauman’s conduct. Several activists began circulating open letters, at least one of which called for the interim chair’s removal ahead of the May vote. No official petitions to launch that process had been filed with state party officials as of December 20, according to Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the party.
Rooker has said she will not run for the position in May.