Who you calling elected?!?

Yesterday, Massachusetts Democratic Party chair Phil Johnston took issue with my suggestion--in an assessment of Chris Gabrieli that appears in this week's Phoenix--that there was something questionable about the ruling that allowed Gabrieli to gather signatures from add-on delegates, as well as those elected at February's Democratic caucuses. Phil writes:

Once again, you have misstated the circumstances surrounding the rule which allowed Chris Gabrielli [sic] to obtain signatures from about 20% more delegates than he might otherwise have been able to do. Contrary to your article, the add-on delegates are not appointed--they are elected by the Democratic State Committee. Jim Roosevelt, our counsel, is not aligned with any candidate. His ruling was made strictly on the basis of the history and the intent of the rule. It was not done to help or hurt any candidate. I am committed to running a Convention which is straightforward and transparent. You may feel that certain decisions help or hurt your particular candidate but everyone should know that I meet regularly with the campaign managers of all statewide candidates to discuss our actions in advance and to give them an opportunity to have significant input. The "resentment" which you describe among delegates has been difficult for me to find. But I am sensitive to these concerns and I encourage delegates to contact me if they wish to communicate with me or our staff about them.
Technically, Phil is right: the add-ons are elected by the state committee. I should have made that clear. On the other hand, that's very different than being elected at the caucuses. The state committee is a closed structure dominated by party insiders; in contrast, the caucuses offer an open framework that's responsive to grassroots sentiment--hence Deval Patrick's massive victory over Tom Reilly. Given this difference, I actually think the elected/appointed comparison is valid, even if it isn't literally correct.

Two more things: first, if I remember right, Mass Dems spokeswoman Cyndi Roy didn't emphasize the "elected" nature of the add-ons when she and I discussed the ruling. Instead, she focused on the danger of creating two classes of delegates.

Finally, I'd like to get readers' thoughts on whether I overstated resentment, among Patrick supporters, of the ruling in question. wrong. Thoughts, anyone?

P.S.--Phil's email is

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