Democrat Delegate Selection Heats up in Bay Area

While the focus has been on California's Republican Convention this weekend, Democratic supporters have been hard at work selecting delegates to send to the national convention in Philadelphia

Fierce supports of both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders have been holding caucuses around the Bay Area and across the state to select delegates.

People who have worked on campaigns before say more people than ever are trying to become a delegate, and that it's been a tough process in many of California's 53 congressional districts. 

"These kinds of things have grown mostly because people are concerned about the welfare of the party and the outcome of the party," said NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston. 

30:50 these kinds of things have grown mostly because people are concerned about the welfare of the party and the outcome of the primary

California’s primary could be hugely influential for the first time in decades. The race is typically sewn up by now, but Sanders – who lags by hundreds in the delegate count – said he’s taking his campaign all the way to the convention.

His Bay Area supporters say they are not ready to concede, either. On Saturday, many of them showed up to the opening of the campaign's Northern California headquarters in Oakland. 

“I’ve never done this before, but Bernie Sanders has motivated me to become a delegate because his message and who he is as a person is worth fighting for, and I want to be one of the people that fight for him,” said Jake Barlow at one of the caucuses.

Meanwhile, Clinton supporters are confident that the former New York senator will continue to lead in California’s polls and hold down a victory in the state. Choosing who to send as delegates might be more difficult. 

Christine Pelosi, who convened the Hillary for President 12th Congressional District Caucus and is the daughter of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, is "thrilled" that the state will play a more important role in this election than those of previous years.

Clinton opened her campaign headquarters last Thursday in Oakland, with the city's Mayor Libby Schaaf laying out the welcome mat.  

“She’s a great candidate,” supporter Matt Tuchow, who is vying for a spot as a delegate, said. “I think she’s the best qualified candidate we’ve ever had for president, and it’s time we had a woman president."

The two sides may not agree on a candidate, but they do agree that it'll be exciting for California to count in a primary. 

California has 475 delegates up for grabs – the most of any state – and will hold its primary on June 7. Voters must register by May 23 to participate.

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