There’s been significant talk about a notable shakeup of the Nevada Democratic Party ever since leading staffers of the party resigned on March 6, 2021 after supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won a key election. Their victories led to them controlling most of the key positions on the committee’s board.
Clark County Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer came out victorious in an election to head the state party. She pulled off an upset victory against Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. Additionally, Whitmer’s faction ended up winning two vice chair positions and a party secretary spot.
According to The Hill, Whitmer counted on the support from the Nevada chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. During the 2020 Democratic convention, she was the leader of the Nevada delegation as a Sanders supporter.
Tick Segerblom, a former state senator who served from 2006 to 2012 in the Nevada State Assembly, served in the State Senate from the 2012 to 2018, and was the chair of the Nevada Democratic Party from 1990 to 1994, was urged by sitting U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto to run for the state party position, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Cortez Masto will be up for re-election in 2020 in what looks to be a competitive race.
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Following Whitmer’s victory, Executive Director Alana Mounce informed the incoming chair that the party staff was quitting. According to a New York Times report, the state party directed $450,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Two Democrat sources told The Hill that this money will be allocated towards Cortez Masto’s reelection bid.
According to a former Nevada Democratic Party staffer, Whitmer had plans of building her own staff in the case she came out victorious.
“She said many times while running her campaign that it was her intention to clean house, to remove all the staff,” the staffer recounted. This former staffer wanted to remain anonymous after Bernie Sanders supporters attacked a number of former staffers on social media.
Generally speaking, the Nevada Democratic Party has been perceived as one of the strongest state parties in the nation. In large part, it received nationwide respect thanks to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s effort to build a well-oiled political machine.
There is a legitimate civil war taking place within the Democratic Party and it’s likely going to get pronounced in Nevada, a state whose Democrat control has been slipping at the federal level over the last decade.
For example, Barack Obama won handedly in 2008 by 12 points. In 2012, his margin of victory decreased after beating Romney by 6 points. Hillary Clinton only beat Donald Trump by 2.5 points in 2016, and Joe Biden barely scraped by against Trump after winning in Nevada by only 2 points in 2020. There is a clear trend in favor of Republicans at the presidential level.
The GOP should exploit a number of wedge issues such as gun control to mobilize Nevada voters in the next four years. The state has taken an anti-gun turn in recent years, which likely doesn’t sit well with many working class votes. The key is that the Republican Party not engage in promoting snoozer issues like tax cuts or deregulation of Big Business.
The more polarizing the issue, the better reception it will get with voters who are sick of the business as usual politics that characterizes governments at all levels in the U.S.