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Riverside County Democratic Party replaces chairman in leadership fight

By in Press Enterprise on October 13, 2017

By Alejandra Molina

Howard Katz was ousted as chairman of the Riverside County Democratic Party earlier this month, a move he said was spearheaded by Bernie Sanders-type progressives who want to “change the Democratic party by revolution.”

Katz, 76, who held the position for about four years, is challenging the outcome of the Oct. 9 vote, which he lost 30-21. He said he has asked the California Democratic Party to nullify the results. He contends that bylaws were waived to allow people without credentials to vote.

That’s not true, said newly elected chairman Steve Ruth and Tim Sheridan, a member of the Central Committee of the Riverside County Democratic Party.

The three people Katz said were not credentialed to vote were alternates for Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside; Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside; and Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside — all of whom were allowed to vote, said Sheridan.

Steve Ruth, 58, was elected as the new chair for the Riverside County Democratic Party.

“The election was appropriately conducted, valid,” said Sheridan. “Mr. Ruth was duly elected. He worked hard to earn the votes he received.”

Ruth, a volunteer treasurer for the Corona Symphony Orchestra, said he’s settling into his new role.

His focus, he said, is to unite the county Democratic party, which has not recovered from the bitter presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Sanders.

“The last election was very divided between Bernie and Hillary … We still are having that divide in our local party,” Ruth, 58, said.

“It’s just more about new people who are coming in with a lot of energy who want to get things done,” he said. “The people who have been around for a long time need to realize the new people have energy, enthusiasm.”

But that doesn’t mean party leaders who have been around for many years should be disregarded, he said.

“They’ve got a lot of knowledge. […]    

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