Working out of the spotlight but influencing the political arena, the San Francisco Democratic and Republican central committees play key roles in voter registration, education and get-out-the-vote efforts for their preferred candidates and measures at election time.
The San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, orDCCC, is The City's "front line of Democratic activists," according to committee member Tom Hsieh.
"We're not really that well-known, because basically we are activists. We're in the streets. We're the people doing the hard work in the trenches," Hsieh said.
The San Francisco Republican County Central Committee, or RCCC, is facing an "uphill battle" as Democrat voters outnumber Republican voters by 5-to-1 in San Francisco, said Mike DeNunzio, RCCC chair. Nevertheless, DeNunzio said, the RCCC does have an impact on elections by mobilizing Republican voters who sometimes act as the swing vote.
If the DCCC can get enough of The City's Democratic voters to the polls it could "influence the overall vote outcome for any statewide measure or candidate," Hsieh said.
The committees have 24 elected members, 12 from the 12th Assembly District, The City's Westside, and 12 from the eastern 13th Assembly District. They are elected every two years. The DCCC's endorsement is eagerly sought by candidates, since it results in "slate card" campaign mailers and ensures the candidate will get a vote from The City's die-hard Democrats who tend to vote the Democratic ticket across the board.
Hsieh emphasized that his committee is not about raising tons of money for candidates, but about using grassroots efforts to get people out to vote and register new Democrats. Last year, the committee was able to register 15,000.
Last November, the DCCC had 120 precinct captains roaming The City’s streets on election day to ensure Democrats turned up at the polls to defeat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiatives, Hsieh said. Also, on election morning, the committee distributed 125,000 "door-hangers" around The City.
The RCCC, meanwhile, obtained the second-largest number of signatures in support of Schwarzenegger's initiatives compared to the other 57 counties, DeNunzio said.
As a guide forvoters, The Examiner below and on page 7 lists all the candidates for the central committees in Tuesday’s election, with some of their key priorities and their view of their committee’s role: