Archives - Selecting the Democratic Ticket
February 2002
City Council Race 2002: Selecting the Democratic Ticket
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At today's Democratic Nominating Convention, voting went into the fourth round, with Blake Caravati and Alexandria Searls taking home the prize.

[L-R] Alexandria Searls and Blake Caravati

It took Blake Caravati until the third round to garner the necessary vote total to win. On the first ballot, he received the highest vote total of 44.83 weighted convention votes; on the third ballot he received 54.7 weighted convention votes from folks left in the room.

Third Ballot

Alexandria Searls, who received 27.57 weighted convention votes and came in fourth on the 1st ballot, received 53.18 weighted convention votes on the 4th ballot from folks left in the room.

4th Ballot

Waldo Jaquith, who received 36.64 weighted convention votes and came in second on the 1st ballot, received 46.83 weighted convention votes on the 4th, losing out to Alexandria Searls.

The actual vote on the fourth ballot was 157 to 153, but the convention votes work out the way they do because of weighting by precinct.

"Under the convention's system, the candidate with the least support in each round of voting was eliminated and attendees were asked to vote again, choosing among the remaining candidates. The first two candidates to draw more than half the weighted 'convention votes' in any round won nomination.

Joan Fenton was eliminated after the first round; David Simmons after the second; and Bern Ewert after the third, in which Caravati won the first nomination of the day with 54.75 percent of the weighted votes.

'I'm pleased,' Caravati said after the voting was through. 'Torturous process. It was pins and needles for five hours. I think it shows that Democrats can not only pick good candidates but are willing to stick by them to the end until the right ones are chosen.'

'It shows that this is serious business, he added. 'Nobody's a shoo-in. You have to earn the right to do this, and I don't mind that at all.'


Like Caravati, [Alexandria Searls] called the series of votes exhausting. 'I thought I had a good chance of winning, but I didn't think it was a guaranteed win by any means,' Searls said. 'I thought I would have to fight for it every step of the way. I hung in there.' " (Jake Mooney, The Daily Progress, February 24, 2002).

"[David] Toscano was busy ... as part of one of the teams of party operatives that sorted, counted and recounted ballots from the day's four rounds of elections.

At a row of tables near the back of the room, hidden behind the stage's curtains, vote counters and candidates' representatives huddled over the colored slips of paper making tally marks on yellow envelopes. Stark overhead lighting lent the necessary atmosphere for what was, quite literally, a back-stage drama.

[L-R] Lloyd Snook, David Toscano (behind), Rus Perry and David RePass

When temporary party rules committee Chairman David RePass announced, 'It's going to be a long afternoon' after the first round of balloting, the soon-to-retire former mayor [Toscano] pronounced the day's voting procedure, newly adopted this year, no better than the old one.

'This is crazy, because now what's happening is we're not getting the true electorate electing the candidate,' he said. 'They're gonna leave ... People are going to have a field day with this.'

RePass later defended the process, arguing that the delays stemmed as much from people's unfamiliarity with the new rules as anything else. 'It's as good as we could do for the first time,' he said." (Jake Mooney, The Daily Progress, February 24, 2002).

Individuals certified to vote at the beginning of the convention numbered 442, with another 20 or so observers, as compared with the Democratic mass meeting for city council in 2000 when 641 individuals were certified to vote.

Individuals Certified to Vote - 2002

Alumni Hall - 29

Carver - 54

Clark - 40

Jefferson Park - 65

Recreation - 105

Tonsler Park - 34

Venable - 41

Walker - 74

By the fourth ballot, there were 310 people voting, assuming no votes were disqualified - an attrition of approximately 132 participants.

Thanks to all, especially the candidates - Blake Caravati, Bern Ewert, Joan Fenton, Waldo Jaquith, Alexandria Searls and David Simmons - who went to such great lengths to encourage others to participate in the process.

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