San Francisco Mayor London Breed, right, endorses Kimberly Ellis, third from left, as chair of the California Democratic Party.

Matt Bigler/KCBS

After Controversy At Top Of State Democratic Party, Bay Area Pols Endorse Kimberley Ellis

Matt Bigler
May 13, 2019 - 2:21 pm

The California Democratic Party is scheduled to hold its big convention later this month, but Bay Area Democrats are trying to head off a sexual harassment controversy within the party in advance of the convention.

With the symbolism of the Bay Bridge in the background, Democratic leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder in San Francisco to endorse Kimberly Ellis as the next chair of the California Democratic Party.

Mayor London Breed said Ellis, an African American woman, represents the things the party stands for: “A future that will make sure that we are putting bodies in those swing states so that we truly can take back the White House coming next November.”

Ellis's endorsementcomes in the wake of two lawsuits filed against the former party chair, Eric Bauman, who's been accused by former employees of sexual assault, harassment and racial discrimination. The alleged victims also claim the party failed to protect them.  

Related: Sexual Harassment Scandal Is Blemish For California Democrats

Ellis said she hopes her endorsement would help to heal the party.

“My call to all Democrats in this moment is for us to listen to the words of St. Francis: ‘Let us all be instruments of peace,’” she said.

If elected, Ellis — the former executive director of Emerge California, which prepares women to run for statewide office — would be the first woman to hold the role of party chair.