Monday, April 14, 2003
Marguerite Downing Drops Out of State Bar Board Race, Says She Will Campaign for Sheldon Sloan
By a MetNews Staff Writer
State Bar Board of Governors candidate Marguerite Downing withdrew from the race Friday and threw her support behind former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Sheldon Sloan for the District 7 seat.
Downing, a deputy public defender in Inglewood and a former president of state and local groups representing black women lawyers, cited Sloan’s endorsement Thursday by the Breakfast Club, a group of bar activists of which Sloan and Downing are both members.
“The Breakfast Club is an important institution,” Downing said in a statement. “I submitted myself to its endorsement process. Shelly Sloan received the endorsement from the majority of our members and I have withdrawn in favor of his candidacy.”
Downing said she will now serve on Sloan’s campaign committee.
Friday was the last day for candidates for the Board of Governors to withdraw. The deadline was 5 p.m., and it could not be immediately determined whether anyone else in what had been a field of eight had dropped out.
Breakfast Club President Jo-Ann W. Grace praised Downing’s decision not to oppose the club’s endorsed candidate.
“Shelly and Marguerite are both outstanding candidates for the Board of Governors,” Grace—who is co-publisher of the MetNews—said. “They are both well respected by the Breakfast Club members, and the endorsement vote was a close one. Marguerite’s decision to withdraw her candidacy at this time reflects well on her character. She has put the interests of all the lawyers in District 7 before her self-interest in deciding not to split the vote.”
Matthew Cavanaugh, a Board of Governors member who ended the club’s 20-year run of successes by defeating its endorsed candidate two years ago, said the large number of “outsider” candidates in the field, combined with Downing’s decision, makes it likely that “insider” Sloan will win.
“I’ll consider it a moral victory if he gets less than a majority,” Cavanaugh said.
The highest vote-getter in the balloting, which begins with the mailing of ballots April 30 and closes June 30, will win the seat.
Cavanaugh, who is backing Long Beach attorney Curtis L. Harrington Jr. for the board, said he knew of no other dropouts. He said he did not—and would not, as a matter of philosophy—try to persuade other candidates to drop out in order to make it easier for his choice to win.
The other candidates in the race are Los Angeles attorneys Scott W. Davenport and Joseph Lewis, Sherman Oaks lawyer Phillip Feldman, Northridge attorney James A. Otto, and Deputy District Attorney Frank M. Tavelman.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company