Obama wins Lamorinda straw poll

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won the Lamorinda Democratic Club straw poll with 79 votes compared to 50 for opponent John Edwards and 36 for Hillary Clinton.

It wasn’t an entirely surprising outcome. The Lamorinda Democratic Club’s members are liberal and many said they would have gone with Edwards if they thought he stood a chance of winning.

The club used an interesting format prior to the straw poll on Friday night. They invited a representative of each campaign to speak as a proxy or surrogate for the candidate. It wasn’t as easy at sounds. It’s one thing to stand up at a press conference and endorse a candidate. But this was an hour-long forum with point audience questions, and surrogates aren’t as intimately familiar as the candidates with the policies.

The idea behind asking the surrogates to speak is that voters respond more favorably to people they know rather than campaign literature or telephone calls. On the other hand, it’s unclear how many folks in the packed room at the Orinda Community Church in Orinda were undecided before they showed up Friday night.

Speaking for Obama was Contra Costa Supervisor Susan Bonilla, who expressed a bit of nerves prior to the event but put on a passionate and well-spoken presentation.

Marie McDonald, a one-time Republican who has helped lead the county party’s fund-raising arm, promoted Edwards while Mary Filson advocated for Clinton. (Mary is married to Steve Filson, a Democratic primary candidate for Assembly District 15 and a former candidate for Congress in the seat now held by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.)

Lisa Vorderbrueggen