Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny Wants His Party to Champion Immigrants as a Strength, Not Consider Them a Weakness

The Arizona Democratic Party's reorganization meeting on January 22 at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Phoenix was tailor-made to bolster that oft-repeated Will Rogers saw: "I don't belong to any organized political party, I'm a Democrat."

Ultimately, former state treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny beat out last year's Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Rodney Glassman, 279 to 232 — but not before the crowd of state committee members tussled over Cherny's qualifications to run.

Though it may seem daft to those non-Dems out there, donkey-kongs tend to be passionate about the intricacies of party bylaws and parliamentary procedure, ad nauseam.

Young and passionate, with oodles of national contacts, new Democratic state party chair Andrei Cherny's just what Sand Land Dems need.
Dennis Gilman
Young and passionate, with oodles of national contacts, new Democratic state party chair Andrei Cherny's just what Sand Land Dems need.

Many in the party disliked Glassman for a host of reasons, his disastrous campaign against U.S. Senator John McCain being just one. (YouTube video "Sweet Home Arizona," anyone?)

Party insiders claimed Glassman had promised to sink millions of his family's wealth into the campaign. He lent himself $500,000 instead. At the reorganization meeting, Glassman denied to me that he'd ever made such promises.

But aside from these, and many other complaints, Glassman was, unlike Cherny, an elected precinct committeeman, whereas Cherny had been appointed to the post. Sticklers claimed only an elected PC could run for chair.

Others, including party legal beagles, contended that if someone was appointed to the state committee (the next rung up the ladder) to fill a vacancy, he or she need not be an elected PC. And so could seek the chairmanship.

Right about now, I'm sure many of you are wondering, "Who gives a flip?" And admittedly, that was my response to this kvetching over the rules.

Cherny seemed eminently qualified to be chair, despite the technicalities involved. He's a former assistant Arizona attorney general, an erstwhile policy wonk for the White House under President Bill Clinton, speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John Kerry, and he actually wrote the national Democrats' 2000 party platform.

Though he lost to Republican Doug Ducey in the 2010 state treasurer's race, he nonetheless ran a tough campaign, for which he raised more than $1 million, which was impressive for a down-ticket race. Former President Clinton even came through Sand Land once to help Cherny raise funds.

With contacts to prominent Dems nationwide, and a brilliant political mind (he was working for Clinton as a senior policy adviser at age 21), the 35-year-old Cherny seemed just what the doctor ordered for Arizona's nearly moribund Democratic party.

But some in the so-called "progressive" faction of the ADP were having none of it. They bought a wacky, conspiratorial line that had Glassman — you know, the rich guy — pegged as the anti-establishment candidate. Cherny was, weirdly, the representative of the elite, for them.

Ironically, some members of the Arizona branch of the Progressive Democrats of America argued that Glassman would be a full-time party chair, whereas Cherny would have to bring in income for himself and his family somehow.

The chair position is unpaid, you see. And because Glassman's the scion of a California agricultural empire, well, he doesn't have to work for a living. Yeah, that's really anti-establishment, PDAers.

Knowing that Saturday's fight could get ugly, Congressman Raul Grijalva, a Glassman supporter, and former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Cherny supporter, issued a letter to party faithful days earlier, asking that the actual Cherny versus Glassman vote be put off for a month because of the tragedy in Tucson.

Glassman reacted that any postponement was part of an effort by party bosses to make sure Cherny would be elected. But didn't Glassman sign off on the deal to begin with?

Glassman said he had talked to his longtime sponsor, Grijalva, about it but that he had not agreed to any deal.

"We spoke about it four times over four days," Glassman admitted to me. "I told him specifically, and we exchanged e-mails about it with his staff, that I was going to run on Saturday, no matter what."

(For the record, Glassman also denied having made a homophobic comment about a fellow Tucson City Council member. The supposed comment became an issue in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, and the fallout from it lingered into the race for chair. Glassman portrayed himself as stalwart for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender causes.)

The state committee plunged itself into some serious parliamentary procedure on Saturday afternoon, with raised voices and occasional booing. But all the angst aside, the state committee voted down a motion that would have essentially prevented Cherny from running. Committee members then voted for accepting an interpretation of the rules that allowed Cherny's candidacy.

And then came the election itself, wherein Cherny prevailed, after a hand count of the ballots, no less.

Glassman gave an enthusiastic speech just before ballots were cast, one that called for "a strong Democratic brand" so voters know what Dems stand for. Glassman's not without communication skills, but I think quite a few fence-sitters were swayed by Cherny's heartfelt speech, which discussed his hard-knock upbringing and that he was the child of Czech immigrants who fled Communism to settle in Los Angeles.

"Thirty-five years ago," he said, "I wasn't standing up in a suit, or anything like this. I was in a one-bedroom apartment with two parents who were recent immigrants. A family where unemployment benefits and food stamps were what made the difference for us when times were tough.

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40 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.....................what CHERNY wants is the GOP to come out and attack him for being pro-immigration reform thus sealing the hispanic vote for hillary 2016

Usgovfail
Usgovfail

Another illegal alien harborer. I hope a jared loughner type kills you. You government stroke offs need to remember who pays your salary. CONSTITUENTS, ie: TAXPAYERS. You were elected by TAXPAYERS to perform a duty for TAXPAYERS, NOT illegal aliens ie: cowards who snuck through the desert to get a better life at someone elses expense. I hope I am alive the day you traitors die because I will poop on your grave. Illegal is not a race, it is a crime. Stupid f-u-c-k-s.

Bucky
Bucky

Great, another Democrat pandering to the illegal aliens. Just what the world needs.

Tomato
Tomato

Heh, Anti-Faciest18, apparently doesn't know what the meaning of fasciest is. Dude, look in the mirror if you want to see a faciest. You are hardly anti-Hitler, you're pro Hitler. You would've fit right in when Adolph was in power. Do you goose step around your double-wide and scare your toothless wife? Bet you do.

bmeek
bmeek

Stephen Lemons, thank you for your continued excellent reporting.

Eyvmc
Eyvmc

Cherny appears to be painting himself as "ONE OF THEM", by mentioning his immigrate parents, who came here legally. But what about the illegal ones? Will Cherny pander to them, in hopes of someday passing amnesty and therefore pulling in votes? Be careful who you sell your soul to, just may come back and bite you.

William
William

Just remember.You can no longer call them "Illegal Aliens". From now on, you must call them what they are: "Unregisterred Democrats".

Justme
Justme

Why doesn't Cherny go and live in Mexico. At least then he would have the immigrants on his side. We just went through hell with the illegals taking away all our jobs, and Cherny thinks that that was good? By the way he makes it sound, that America had it best when the illegals had all the American jobs. what a baboon.

There is a vast difference between legal immigrants, and illegal squatters.

Dezzertguy
Dezzertguy

Like most Dems he speaks false. Reps understand that immigration is a strength of the US. All in this country have a link to immigration. What Dems support is open borders and illegals are not immigrates. They have lost the support of most citizens and need illegals to increase their voter pool. At least Dems are consistent, you have to look beyond their words.

Blog
Blog

Legal Immigrants yes,illegal immigrants have no place in america !!!

Roy
Roy

Immigrants are pawns in Dems grand delusions.

Skewger
Skewger

conservatives believe in "legal" immigration, recognize that "legal" immigrants have always been a part of the fiber of the the US. Conservatives don't recognize criminals as being a valuable resource, these criminals bleed our economy and need to be sent home to where they send their money

Patrick
Patrick

the illegal Mexicans across the street from me sell meth,cocaine and pot. the cops like police Sargent Chuck Williams of the Phoenix Arizona cactus precinct knows of them but he and his fellow police officers never bust the drug dealers. why is that? this has been going on for over 8 years and still nothing is done about it even though the police have known of the drug dealers for at least 7 years. what else can a good American citizen to do stop this?

My Name
My Name

And what is he championing TEA PARTIERS as?

AntiFascist18
AntiFascist18

P.S. And only a disgusting Neo-Fascist, America-hating turd like Stevie Lemons could write such a crapola propaganda piece in reverence of a dip-sh*t like Cherney.

AntiFascist18
AntiFascist18

Only the New Times, which published a disgusting anti-Semitic crap piece last year in support of Illegal Aliens would find this newsworthy.

Interesting whom the Arizona Demorats would pick as their new chairman. Someone whose parents fled from Communism, whether it be Russian as I orginally heard he was, or Czech, only to have a son who behaves like one. Someone whose parents were LEGAL political and religious refugees but who prefers, like the rest of his morally bankrupted party, to denounce SB1070 and champion ILLEGAL Aliens. Someone who though of Jewish birth, doesn't mind ghostwriting for Israel-hater Obama and belong to a party that is increasingly both anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Doesn't mind breaking bread and expressing solidarity with the Racist, Anti-Semite Grijalva either.

Excellent choice, Arizona Dems. You've just guaranteed Republican rule of Arizona for the next 50 years or better.

As for that Will Rogers comment, He'd be horrified and turning over in his grave if he saw what the current Democratic Party was all about. He was a Patriotic, pro-military, Cowboy who would have nothing in common (and neither would his son, who is buried in Tubac) with the Cherney-Grijalva-Goddard-Napolitano party.

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

Glassman said, "I'm not getting involved with lawyers. I never have..." That is COMPLETE bullshit. Rodney Glassman hired attorney Rhonda Barnes to obtain copies of the nominating petitions for ALL THREE of his US Senate primary opponents last spring. I have documentation to that effect.

I'll grant that Rodney wants to distance himself from any effort anyone might undertake to challenge Andrei's legitimacy as ADP chair. But he is NOT above figuring out short cuts with the help of attorneys to try to get what he wants.

I'm on record as wishing him well in his efforts to BEGIN establishing credibility among Arizona Democrats. Making disingenuous claims that he has never gotten involved with lawyers for political purposes will NOT move him in that direction.

jacobchughes
jacobchughes

I can't believe that the Democrats actually made the right decision. Next step: organizing the Mexican-American community.

A4624ever
A4624ever

Of course LEGAL immigrants are one of the strengths of the United States.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

....................how about when SLAVES were kidnapped and IMported to AMERICA as chattel and they built the farming industry ? well who do you think replaced those SLAVES ? yup it was illegal aliens picking vegetables and fruits and melons and oranges who supported our entire agricultural industry for many many years and still today

we did the same with the chinese after they built the railroads and with the japanese during wwii

maybe they took your J O B but they are an indispensable part of AMERICAN labor = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

............................JESUS was an illegal alien

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............that's funny but remember once those illegals are disrespected it will be their family members who ARE ELIGIBLE to VOTE that will go for hillary in 2016

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.........................IF an illegal took your J O B then get educated and become better employed = period

do you pick fruits and vegetables in the field ?

bmeek
bmeek

Stupid comment. We don't have to guess at your education level or IQ.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.......................i agree this is meant to polarize VOTers and the hispanic VOTE hangs in the balance and the GOP has no response - the DEMS are simply staking out there place on hispanic hill for hillary 2016

bmeek
bmeek

"Immigrates"? Reps understand that immigration is a strength of the US? Yes, that's it, and Fox News is unbiased...

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................i guess you don't know the chinese contribution to america during the construction of the railroad

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............these "criminals" pick our food and cut our grass and wash our cars and get abused by employers and have taxes and social security withheld they will never receive benefit from and many would be imprisioned or tourtured or killed or forced into drug dealing in their home country

yes they have gangs and a real criminal element in some inner cities dealing in drugs but as a percentage that is a relatively small number

AntiFascist18
AntiFascist18

Cherney, like all good Democrats who put Illegals above citizens and oppose 1070 will make it even more easier for your neighbors to see their dope. After all, they pander, they lie, and they have Grijalva, the Cartel's paid Anti-American stooge - and Cherney is too stupid to speak up for us.

Gosh, he is going to make us solvent? Like his "girlfriend" Napolitano did? Please - the circus left town months ago!

As for Lemons, he ought to acknowledge what he is, a girlieboy hack for the Democratic Party. Any objectivity went out the window when he left romper room.

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

The purpose for a candidate obtaining copies of his primary opponents' nominating petitions is to check the signatures and try to disqualify the opponents from appearing on the ballot. Rhonda Barnes conducted such a challenge against John Huppenthal on behalf of the ADP in an attempt to get him tossed off of the ballot. It's a different political question when challenging a candidate from the other party. The ADP didn't necessarily challenge all of the Republicans for state school superintendent.

Bobby D
Bobby D

All human beings are strengths,...you do yourself injustice by thinking that some of us are more worthy of respect and dignity than our fellow human beings.

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

1. Republicans like to claim they have the corner on religious purity - they Lie while betraying AGAPE!2. Repubilcans like to claim they have the business community on their side - They Lie while hiring undocumented workers!3. Republicans like to say that democrats are for open borders and illegal immigration - They Lie while standing in the way of immigration reform that will reduce the numbers of illegal immigrants4. Republicans like to say that they are against the working stiffs in this country - They TELL THE TRUTH - opposing immigration reform is just another way of abusing worker's rights and getting away with it. If they can hire an undocumented worker, they think they don't have to follow the rules that protect the middle class in the country from exploitation by the republicants.

 
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