Cowan says race not a factor in not receiving Democrats’ endorsement

Barbara Cowan with her grandsons

By Allen Payton, Publisher

I spoke with candidate for the Antioch School Board, Barbara Cowan, today about her experience with the endorsement process of the Contra Costa County Democratic Party Central Committee. Three of the five Democratic candidates running for the board had sought the endorsement, but they only endorsed two candidates for the three seats, and both are African American.

Following are Cowan’s comments about it:

“It was the first interview I’d done. I was extremely nervous going in,” she said. “But, it was a very, very unpleasant experience.”

When asked who was involved in the interview, she responded, “I believe there were at least six people involved in the interview with one Hispanic and one African American on the panel.”

So what did she think was the reason she wasn’t endorsed for the third seat?

“There was a gentlemen there who took an issue with a remark I made and interrupted all the other questions, so he could argue with me,” said Cowan. “I told him I was talking about the API scores in Antioch. I indicated that on the history scores, that the teachers needed a little training. He came across angry and said, basically, not yelling, but very firmly, that it wasn’t the Antioch teachers but that is was a lack of support for the discipline. He’s a substitute teacher in Antioch and seemed very bitter and angry.”

“Maybe they looked at me as an ingenue or that I wasn’t qualified. After I was reamed by this guy a couple times, I stumbled over my words,” Cowan added. “I can tell you my interview didn’t go well. I answered the questions that I could, but maybe they may have chosen not to endorse me because of that.”

She doesn’t believe race was a factor in the endorsement decision.

“I’m not going to pull the race card. But I don’t feel it was fair because of the way I was treated,” she said.

Cowan was never informed that she hadn’t been endorsed.

“There was no feedback, not even a notification that I had not been endorsed,” she added.

So as far as the Antioch School Board election is concerned, I believe we can put to rest the concerns that race was a factor in how the Democrats chose their candidates. What we don’t know is the criteria that was used to decline the endorsement of Cowan, the only former teacher and principal running in Antioch, this year.

the attachments to this post:

Barbara Cowan

4 Comments to “Cowan says race not a factor in not receiving Democrats’ endorsement”

  1. Carolyn Phinney says:

    I am an elected member of the Democratic Party Central Committee and I am sorry to hear that your interview was an unpleasant experience. Sometimes a candidate has written something in their questionnaire or says something early on in the interview process that contradicts the values held by the Democratic Party or perhaps by an individual interviewer. That can set things on a different tone than if everything that is written or said is liked by the evaluators. This is true of job interviews and other real life situations. In fact, it is how voters decide for whom they will vote. They read and listen and decide if what you are saying comports with their values and needs. If it does not, they vote against. Unfortunately, your written and verbal responses did not correspond to the values of the Democratic Party and/or the members of the Endorsement Committee evaluating your request for endorsement. A majority of the endorsement committee members would have to vote against you for you NOT to receive a recommendation for endorsement. If anyone had plead your case to the full body, another evaluation would have taken place, but no one did this. No one came before the general body of the DPCCC and recommended we overturn the recommendation of the Endorsement Committee. I am surprised that you would want to see this failure published so widely. Do you really think it helps you to win for the readers to know that you do not have the support and did not have the vote of the Democratic Party members. We don’t think you are one of the three best candidates. Does clarify and help you accept your rejection by the DPCCC?

  2. Iris Archuleta says:


    As a long time Democrat, and African-American, I want to tell you that I think it was very classy of you to refute the allegation that race played a part in your not being endorsed by the Democratic club. I also want to say that

    even though I am not a member of the club, I am sorry that you were treated badly during your interview. I can imagine that it must be very hard to run for public office. I can also imagine that it must take a lot of passion and commitment to want to serve on the school board. I applaud you and the other candidates for stepping up and wanting to serve.

    Please know that many of us out here base our support on the content of a persons character and not whether they are endorsed by a club, or any other organization. So Barbara, whether you win or lose, please know that we appreciate your concern, and willingness to serve.


  3. Carolyn Phinney says:

    Iris makes an excellent point. Endorsements don’t win elections, candidates do. As far as character goes, I would not have supplied a photograph of myself and my grandchildren for an article alleging racism, when I claim to not support the allegation of racism. Seems like an opportunistic attempt to get free PR while distancing oneself from the nasty allegations in the article.

    • Publisher says:

      Ms. Phinney,
      Please go back and read what I wrote in my last post. Ms. Cowan DID NOT submit a photo of her and her grandchildren for the article which I wrote and posted, yesterday.

      She submitted the photo along with her responses to questions I sent to ALL the candidates for the Antioch School Board, as did ALL the candidates and which were printed in our October edition of the paper, which was published at the END OF SEPTEMBER.

      Again, you would have known that if you lived in Antioch and had received a copy of the Antioch Herald which is mailed to most homes and businesses in Antioch, each month, which included a photo of each of the 9 candidates for the Antioch School Board, and their responses to the questions we sent them.

      I re-used that photo, from the October print edition of the Antioch Herald and posted it with the article of my interview with Ms. Cowan, that I wrote, yesterday regarding the issue with the Democratic Central Committee’s endorsement process.

      I’m not sure how much more clear I can be.

      What I really don’t get is why you continue to take shots at one of your own, fellow Democrats who was seeking office, and appears to have not only won election, but is the top vote-getter in the election.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

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