Orange County Democrats showed energy and strength at the recent 25th Annual Harry S. Truman Awards Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Anaheim.
Nearly 1,000 people gathered to recognize the Democratic Party’s historic accomplishments. People cheered throughout the evening for Truman Award honorees Harley Rouda, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, and Mike Levin, the four Democrats who swept Orange County’s Congressional offices in the 2018 Midterms.
Democrats also celebrated overtaking the GOP in voter registration in Orange County. This past August, Democratic Party voters took the lead to outnumber GOP voters, and the lead keeps expanding each week. It is an historic accomplishment not seen in Orange County since the late 1970s, after a scandal-ridden Republican President resigned under a cloud of impeachment investigations.
In my efforts fighting for working people through labor organizing, and now as Chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County, I’ve seen what can happen when people stand together. Whether through collective bargaining and unionizing, or through grassroots club membership and voter outreach organizing, we accomplish more when we unite.
This message – of uniting for 2020 – was echoed again and again by our awardees and guest speakers at our largest event of the year. Democrats must refuse to grow complacent. We have a lot of work to do.
Despite Democrats’ voter registration advantage in Orange County, an astonishing 70% of local offices like City Council and School Board seats are disproportionately held by Republicans. In addition, Orange County Democrats face hotly contested Congressional seats in 2020. Each of the four battleground districts have a GOP voter registration advantage, and national Republican groups are preparing heavy investments into these races. We should expect a challenging election cycle.
Orange County Democrats are locally-focused and locally-funded. The Truman Awards raise community dollars for a year’s worth of work. This event’s success means that Democrats can expand work to engage more voters, register new voters, organize local Democratic Clubs, and recruit and support more local candidates.
Democrats must be “all in” for the blue wave in 2020. I challenge our Democratic community to ask what more can be done, both of ourselves and our organizations. What more can we do to recruit new voices to run for office? What more can we do to organize and register voters? I am proud to work in partnership with Orange County’s diverse Democratic community to rise to the challenge of this historic era.
Ada Briceño is the Chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County
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