Democrats Want Kevin Johnson to Quit After ESPN Pulls Film

Kevin Johnson (Noel Vasquez / Getty)
Noel Vasquez / Getty

On Tuesday, Kerri Asbury, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, called on Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to resign.

Asbury’s call follows the release on YouTube of a video showing Johnson’s alleged molestation victim from nearly 20 years ago. The video prompted ESPN to postpone its national release of Down in the Valley, a documentary lauding Johnson’s role in keeping the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle.

The fact that Johnson is a fellow Democrat did not hinder Asbury; the local Democratic Party has never endorsed Johnson. Asbury told the Sacramento Bee, “The focus returns to the city’s needs and not more reports of impropriety.” She added that the party’s executive board will wait until its Nov. 12 meeting to discuss Johnson’s future, but said she had consulted with other members of the board. She asserted, “If I were putting down money on which way the committee would go, I would bet on a call for resignation….At a minimum, I think he needs to not seek re-election. I feel the integrity of the mayor’s office has been broken.”

On Tuesday, Johnson’s former campaign manager and current political spokesman, Steve Maviglio, responded to Asbury’s attack, saying, “We have an organization that’s had a two decade-long grudge against the mayor and they’ve lost elections to him,” according to FOX40. He added, “We have an organization that’s had a two decade-long grudge against the mayor and they’ve lost elections to him…most Sacramento Democrats believe that their party’s organization should be spending its time electing Democratic candidates instead of attacking them.”

Asbury was not alone attacking Johnson after the video surfaced; FOX40 reported that on Tuesday, the editor of wrote, “the allegations if true are disgusting, deplorable and something that nobody wants associated with the Kings.”

Councilman Jay Schenirer only offered a “no comment” to FOX40 about the situation.

Paul Mitchell, a Sacramento political consultant, pointed out that the postponement of the national release of the documentary makes Johnson’s status more precarious than before, telling the Bee, “ESPN is an independent and trusted entity and a brand that is external to the Sacramento political debate. Somebody might see something attacking Kevin Johnson and think it’s part of Sacramento political dysfunction, but now it looks like it’s a real problem.”