New County Democratic Central Committee Chair Anticipated

While it is not yet official, it appears that Chris Robles, who has dominated the Democratic Party in San Bernardino County as the chairman of the county central committee since he wangled election to the position of local party chairman in 2012, is about to be deposed.
The results of an informal poll of San Bernardino County Central Committee members taken over the last several days indicates that sufficient support for Kristin Washington throughout the central committee has manifested to virtually ensure that she will outdistance Robles for chairmanship of the local party when the committee holds a zoom meeting tomorrow, July 18, at which its election of officers, which takes place every four years in July, is held.
Robles was elected by the central committee to serve as chairman in 2012, largely on the strength of his professional experience as a campaign consultant. The belief was that he would bring his expertise to bear in the service of all Democratic candidates across the spectrum in San Bernardino County, from those running for Congress, to those seeking legislative posts in Sacramento to county and city candidates, even though local races are not considered to be partisan ones.
In 2009, the number of registered Democrats in San Bernardino County eclipsed the number of registered Republicans, and the gulf between the parties has widened in favor of the Democrats ever since, until at present they hold a commanding lead over the GOP in terms of registration. At present, 428,643 of the county’s 1,042,158 registered voters, or 41.1 percent are Democrats, and 308,721 or 29.6 percent are Republicans. Nevertheless, San Bernardino County remains one of the last bastions of Republicanism in the State of California, as the Party of Lincoln claims the lion’s share of San Bernardino County’s seats in the California Legislature as well as four of five positions on the county board of supervisors. In 17 of the county’s 24 municipalities, the Republicans represent a majority of the those holding positions on the city or town councils.
Robles was reelected to the central committee chairman’s spot in 2016, but within a year, a number of the central committee members had grown disenchanted with him, and an effort to remove him as chairman ensued. That effort failed, as Robles made skillful use of parliamentary procedure and the alliances he had made among the committee’s executive board to stave off that coup attempt.
At this point, however, Washington, who is the chairwoman of the Redlands Area Democratic Club, has gained the trust of a solid majority of the central committee’s members. She has campaigned for the central committee chair post by asserting that she intends to endorse and elect Democrats through coordinated grassroots efforts, increase party transparency by improving communications internally and with voters, build coalitions throughout the county to amplify the party’s efforts and enhance party visibility throughout the county.
Two important strides made by Washington in her ongoing effort to take control of the county party have been the defection from the Robles camp by Jim Gallagher, whom Robles had installed years ago as a member of the committee’s executive board, and the defeat of Mark Westwood in March in his race to remain as a member of the the central committee. Westwood, whom Robles had also installed onto the executive board, was very active and determined in his previous efforts to keep Robles in charge of the county party.
Washington is running for chair as a part of a slate, which also features Stacey Ramos as a candidate for first vice chair, Gallagher as second vice chair, Leslie Irving as third vice chair, Nancy Glenn for secretary, Martina Ortega as treasurer, and Nicholas Christensen as corresponding secretary.
Adding to Washington’s advantage is that she is endorsed by Assemblyman James Ramos and former San Bernardino County Democratic Central Committee Chairwoman Nancy Ruth White.
The meeting at which the selection of the chair is to occur is scheduled for tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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