Nevada Dems in Chaos at Clark County Convention

Update: It's a do-over. They will hold another one at later date.


As noted earlier, the county delegates to the Nevada state convention were to be selected today. Those selected at local caucuses aren't binding. Both the Obama and Hillary camps did their best to get their delegates out today.

Most primaries and some Democratic caucuses are binding, meaning that national delegates won by the candidates must pledge to support them at the national convention this summer. Some high-profile caucuses, however, are just the beginning of a multistep process of selecting national convention delegates. In Nevada, precinct caucuses were held Jan. 19 to select delegates to county conventions this weekend. The county conventions will select delegates to the state convention in May.

The national delegates are elected at the state convention — the third step of the process. If all the delegates for each candidate show up at every step, the national delegates awarded Jan. 19 will remain unchanged. In Nevada, Obama won 13 delegates and Clinton won 12.


It was a madhouse. 8,000 turned out at Bally's in Las Vegas. It was a chaotic scene. The early straw poll results were 1,320 for Clinton, 1,261 for Obama.

The process almost got suspended for 30 days.

Clark County Democrats suspended their convention just now, agreeing that the chaos was so extensive that a fair outcome could not be guaranteed. Democratic officials say the convention will remain in recess for up to 30 days to give the organization time to make the process more fair and orderly.

A few minutes later the Sun writes,"Oops, reports of suspension premature."

Stay tuned.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:05:21 PM EST
    What a system these caucuses have wrought.

    They brought us Obama (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by koshembos on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:31:59 PM EST
    Without the huge jump in Iowa, Obama would have been forced to be non-Godly, Edwards would have still been in the game and the A-list couldn't have hidden behind Edwards exit, in their support of Obama.

    How many caucuses are left? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:15:05 PM EST
    Clearly . . . (none / 0) (#8)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:56:00 PM EST
    too many.  But that was true even in Iowa, too.

    Ah, HRC campaign is (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:05:22 PM EST
    at last showing some savvy.

    Another reason for primaries (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:53:59 PM EST
    Caucuses are undemocratic and un-Democratic.

    Florida to the Rescue (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by glennmcgahee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:49:01 PM EST
    Let us voters in Florida show you people that 1.7 million voters can come to vote one day and show you a clear, concise winner. Hillary Clinton by a large majority.

    You know (none / 0) (#22)
    by Mystic55 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:01:38 PM EST
    I feel badly for Florida and Michigan, I really do.  But the fact is, that their Oklahoma style 'sooner grab' for the earliest slots would have made campaigning virtually impossible.

    I am TIRED of my vote not mattering, and super Tuesday ensured I got to vote for a candidate who was still campaigning.

    There HAVE to be rules, and if Florida or MI get special treatment then there ARE no rules.


    To be expected (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by brianj52 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:43:51 PM EST
    I can't find the link now, but I've heard on radio and read many comments about Obama supporters not really knowing the system. Leaving aside for the moment the problems of the caucus system, I grew up in Iowa and chaired a couple of caucuses. From what I've read and heard, there has been a problem with Obama supporters getting to the caucus, but not sticking around. It's true that you sign in with a preference, and then there is a selection of preference. However, Obama supporters then leave, figuring that they've done their jobs. The problem is, right after the preference, there is the selection of delegates. If you leave, the preference selection doesn't matter, as those who know to stick around (those who have strong party involvement) generally get elected as delegates, and Clinton supporters tend to be those with more party involvement. It's not a surprise that local conventions are going to be a problem. This is going to happen in Washington also.

    interesting (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:44:52 PM EST
    that they are holding for Hillary rather than being wooed by the Great One.  I mean, by some accounts here, shouldn't they all be worshipping at the Obamalter by now?

    Seriously, how these caucuses are legit is beyond me.  Are all the caucus states going to be like this?  Where is the leadership?  

    I was there (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by a sad day in NV on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:31:17 PM EST
    If the Clark County Democratic Convention in Las Vegas is any indication, the Democratic party is in serious trouble. I hope and pray that I am wrong, but there was so much division today that I actually felt sick. I have been an Independent voter all my life but registered as a Democrat on our caucus day just so that I could vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe in her and her ability to lead our country in the right direction. I have never heard so many vile things spoken against her by members of the opposing candidate. This of course was not during the regular convention, which was run as well as possible considering there were 10,000 people trying to get into a room that held a lot less. (And a big thank you to all the speakers who said that they would pledge their allegiance to whichever candidate was victorious.) This happened when we alternates were sent to a room waiting to hear if we would be called to fill a delegate position of someone who didn't show up. (That's when they realized that hundreds of delegates had been turned away by the fire marshal! We weren't able to finish the process but had to vote to meet again in about a month to vote once more.) It was in this room that Clinton supporters were told we were in "Obama territory". Little by little, the people around me let me know that if Hillary "stole" the nomination, they wouldn't vote for her. That's when I heard things like "a woman shouldn't run our country" and "if I were Obama, I'd slug her since she should be treated like a man because she's no lady." Honestly, it got worse from there. I actually wondered at one point if I were going to get slugged! The whole process lasted 7 hours, and we get to meet again to vote at a future date. What fun! I seriously question whether or not the Democratic party can be united in time for the general election. Obama's camp is not being realistic if they think he'll be able to unite us. If today is any indication, I don't see it happening. No matter which of these candidates gets the nomination, I worry that there will be serious trouble. It's surely the answer to every Republican's prayer!

    Wow, sad day! (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by jen on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:16:04 PM EST
    That sucks! I'm sorry you had to go through that, and have to go through it again... I don't know, but it seems like there should be someone you could report this behavior to? The Dem leadership doesn't seem to have a clue, or have control of what's going on, and not just today at your Convention.

    I'm in NV as well, but Northern NV. At our caucus, we were swarmed with Republics and Indys registering to participate, most of them for Obama. One friend's husband, a Repub, said he was there to stop Hillary and would never vote Dem in the GE. We all wondered how many of the others were there with the same intent.

    Somehow, we have to stop caucauses. They're a sick joke and in no way reflective of the results of a closed primary. (I hope I'm correct, that closed primary means only party members can vote?)


    My God they sound like a bunch of thugs!!! (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by athyrio on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:01:11 PM EST

    Hillary delegates (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by BPeters on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:40:11 PM EST
    My daughter was an elected Hillary delegate.  Even though she filed her paperwork, when she arrived at the Clark County Convention today she was not registered.  She argued and they admitted her as an alternate.  She quickly realized that many Hillary delegates who had filed their paperwork were denied delegate status.  I'm glad she stayed.  The scene she described (and I could hear in the background on her cell call to me) was absolute chaos.  

    Thank goodness young people have the energy to say "I'm not giving in."

    Cute line (none / 0) (#4)
    by Steve M on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:29:56 PM EST
    State Sen. Dina Titus is doing her best to put a good face on the mess in her convention speech. "Isn't it great to have the confusion of too many Democrats, than too few," she said.

    A new collective plural noun -- (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:32:34 PM EST
    has been coined: "A confusion of Democrats."  And a term all too apt.

    Yes (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:43:42 PM EST
    Hillarious, cream city, but all too true!

    Oh great 1968 Chicago all over again (none / 0) (#10)
    by catfish on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:50:28 PM EST
    This stinks, and I'm for Hillary.

    Convention Suspended... (none / 0) (#12)
    by jen on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:18:04 PM EST
    4:59pm LVSun

    because (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Foxx on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:40:48 PM EST
    Hillary won?

    Pledge Delegates are they really? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Saul on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:15:10 PM EST
    The other day on NPR they had an interview with one of the DNC rules and credentials committee member on the elections committee who stated  the rules only say "shall in good conscience" vote at the convention as originally  pledge but according to the rules the pledge delegates are free to change their mind and it legal even if they were pledge from the primaries and caucuses.  Some one what to confirm that?

    To Saul (none / 0) (#17)
    by a sad day in NV on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:35:01 PM EST
    Yes, that's totally correct, Saul. The delegates can change their minds until they cast their vote at the county conventions. Then they are locked in until the state conventions when they can vote for whomever they choose. Then they are locked in once again until the National convention when, guess what, they can change their minds yet again! Great process, isn't it?

    I could not believe this mess! (none / 0) (#23)
    by donnawest on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 06:45:10 PM EST
    Let me begin by saying that I have been so excited to get involved in this process.  I was chosen to be a temporary precinct chair for the caucus and our site handled that well.  I was thrilled to be chosen to be a county convention delegate and get even more involved.  Saturday started off as I expected and ended up as a nightmare that I could have never imagined.

    But problems with the Clark County Democratic convention began long before that day.  As you reported, the local Democratic party, while projecting 7,000 delegates, did not provide a venue for a group this size or larger.

    The county party did not include anyone from the campaigns in the convention planning.  That was an arrogant mistake.  Otherwise they would have know that the campaigns were encouraging everyone who attended the caucuses to attend the convention.

    Obviously the county party chair John Hunt and convention organizer Bill Stanley don't listen to themselves speak.  How else do you explain their ignorance of an unprecedented turnout? And that is the least of their offenses.

    If lack of space was the only problem maybe those of us in attendance would not be so angry.  There were so many other blatant problems.  

    Like other delegates selected at the caucus, I got a card notifying me of the convention date and site.  It also advised that I could go to the Clark County website to register for the convention.  Once there, I found that I couldn't register online.  I had to print the form and mail it in!  

    And it seems that mailing this form in 2 weeks before the convention, along with the requested $50 donation, did little good.  I got nothing back in the mail acknowledging its receipt, no further instructions, and no credentials. Thank goodness for the campaigns calling and emailing me with more information!

    I arrived around 7 am that morning and there were more than 1,000 people already in a long line.  And there was just 1 line.  In that line were delegates, hopeful alternates and guests.  Again, what good did it do me to register via mail in advance?  I got to stand in line with everyone.  If the convention is for the delegates, wouldn't you want to focus on getting them registered and into the room?

    And there was that strong request for a $50 donation to offset the cost of the convention, but there was no water or anything available for the delegates.  Just what was that $50 for anyway?

    But at least I got registered.  I talked to more than 10 people who ended up as alternates because the record of their election as a delegate was not in the credentialing room.  I heard that about 1,000 of the 7,000 delegate records were missing.  The caucuses were more than a month ago and no one noticed that this information was missing and tracked it down?

    The convention started well enough until the room became overcrowded.  It went downhill from there.  Finally the alternates and guests were asked to leave the main ballroom so that all the delegates could be seated.  That should have been a given from the start. It would have been nice to been able to see the stage and who was speaking instead of having people stand in front of me blocking my view.

    And then out of the blue, we hear a motion to suspend the convention without a clear explanation of what was going on.  Hunt, Stanley and company thought that we were just a bunch of newbies and would follow them like sheep.  They forgot - we are Nevada Democrats, we want to know what is going on and why.  How can you live here and not know that voters are skeptical of those in government and politics?  Of course, we got angry, upset and confused and rejected there motion to suspend the convention  --- we had just voted! The Democratic party is the party of inclusion so to not acknowledge that there were a lot of first time convention delegates who would need and expect information and explanation was just ignorant.

    Finally after we heard from the leaders of the campaigns (who, by the way are not responsible for the convention mess) about what was going on, how lots of delegates left due to the disorganized registration process, other were not registered as actual delegates but as alternates because their paperwork had been lost, more were told that an alternate had been seated in their place and they were now the alternate and still others just never got registered in time to participate today.  We also heard about the possiblity of irregularities with the ballot boxes.  The campaigns apologized for the mess, which is more than Hunt and company did.  They said that if we went forward the results would be challenged and we would be back where we started anyway.

    It is sad that it took the campaign staff to help shepherd us through this mess.

    Going forward we need:

    • Hunt and Stanley to step down and stay out of the way of the new convention.  I don't even want to see or hear from them there.
    • Have the campaigns involved.  We seem to trust them more than our county party and they seem to know what they are doing.
    -Do the credentialing through the mail or even better, via the internet.  Let me have my credentials in hand when I arrive at the new convention site.
    -By doing credentialing in advance, you can identify what precincts need representative delegates and sit the right person representing the candidate chosen by the caucus.
    -Have a streamlined check in process, give delegates the first priority, alternates the next priority and limit the number of guests.
    -Have enough space for all of us.  And how about having bottled water, maybe coffee and a donut?
    -Oh, and send me back that $50 I sent you.  I wasted a day and all I got was an awesome Shelley Berkley t-shirt.

    It was shameful day for a state party who has  has been looked to by a nation as a leader in this presidential race.  Hunt and company had it partially right when they said it was 'an embarassment of riches' - it was and is an embarassment.  One for which these two men never apologized.