06/16/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

I Want Choice

This year I have yearned for a Democratic primary race in California. Somehow in our great state, up until last week, all we were able to field in our governor's race was one Democrat. He's a fine Democrat. Heck, he was my Governor when I was a kid over 3 decades ago. But shouldn't there be more choices? Wasn't the best thing about the Democratic Presidential race the exciting candidates we had to choose from? The interest in hearing the primary candidates debate, the need for them to hone their arguments and help us all become more informed in the process? They had to become great at reaching out and developing supporters to win the primary. It was only then that we had a candidate ready to run for President.

I've heard from Meg Whitman on the radio again and again these last few months. Dead air from the Democrats. Wouldn't a vibrant primary be fabulous!

I've conducted my own personal recruitment campaign trying to get a woman Democrat to run. I want to see more women in leadership. No luck. What is going on? How is it that the only candidates running are the super rich, celebrities or super connected? Average citizens need to have more say in selecting candidates! That is why I strongly support public funding of elections in CA and nationally. The states that have done this have expanded their candidate pool dramatically.

But back to the case at hand: good news, last week a second Democrat stepped up to the challenge of running for Governor in California. Peter Schurman was MoveOn's first executive director and deeply believes in the value of citizen engagement. He wants to talk about education, the CA budget, taxes that make sense, and engage citizens in the dialog. Now the question is, will he be able to gather the resources necessary to run a meaningful campaign? Will he get the media attention it requires for the public to become engaged in a primary race or is his effort completely in vain because he isn't super rich, super connected or a celebrity?

As a founder of and I do not endorse candidates. I do however object when the democratic process is not providing citizens with real choices and when the media is not providing forums for us to hear about the issues so that we have the opportunity to become informed about the issues that so deeply impact our lives. What is the California Democratic party thinking?