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After "Unruly" Democratic Convention Shut Down, What's Next For Party?


AP Photo/Michelle Rindels

Thousands of people gather at the Paris casino in Las Vegas for the Nevada State Democratic Convention on Saturday, May 14, 2016. They are picking delegates to send to the national convention in July.

The Nevada State Democratic Convention became unruly this weekend with Bernie Sanders’ supporters clashing with party leaders over delegate counts and convention rules. No matter which side won those fights, though, the convention would have resulted in a victory for Hillary Clinton. The question is the margin of victory.

The event at Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino was scheduled to end at 7 p.m. but was finally ended around 10 p.m. after hotel security said they could no longer provide the necessary security for the event.  

According to the Washington Post, some Sanders supporters refused to leave and were escorted out by hotel security and Las Vegas Metro Police.

Friction between Sanders' supporters and state Democratic Party leaders had flared throughout the day on Saturday.

Sanders supporters accused state party leaders of putting them at a disadvantage on rules votes and by disqualifying 64 would-be Sanders delegates. Subsequently, six of those delegates were allowed to participate. State party officials say the would-be delegates didn't provide acceptable identification and did not meet the May 1 deadline to register as Democrats. Officials said eight Clinton delegates were also ruled ineligible.

Support comes from

State Senator Tick Segerblom, who is a Sanders supporter and was at the convention, said on KNPR's State of Nevada, "A lot of this is internal party politics rather than Bernie Sanders politics. I'm not sure it was done to screw Bernie. But at the end of the end of the day, it seemed like the people in control didn't bend over backwards to help the Sanders' people. But that's hardball politics."

Segerblom also said that the Democratic party could have easily allowed poeple to register as Democrats on the day of the convention, rather than May 1.

Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Caucus on Feb. 20. Then in at least two county conventions last month, more Sanders supporters showed up and it looked like he might take the state, despite what the vote was at the caucuses.

On Saturday night, Clinton did win the final vote at the convention. She received 20 delegates to the convention in Philadelphia. Sanders received 15.

The other issue was the adoption of convention rules. Sanders' supporters filed a lawsuit last week, according to the Las Vegas Sun, to change the deadline to allow them to run for party office. The suit was thrown out, as political party rules are not a matter of law.

Last month, a draft of the rules was sent by a Sanders supporter to people who were interested in running. But in the final set of rules, the deadline was four days earlier. Sanders supporters who wanted to run said they were not informed of the different day. The Nevada Democratic Party said they were not aware anyone was given a draft document, and that the information was on their website once the rules were finalized.

The Sanders supporters attempted to get the rules changed at the convention, but missed the opportunity to file a motion.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Angie Morelli, a Sanders' supporter who coordinated the effort to change the rules, said, “I think this was of course the fault of the party. We would’ve been able to do more democratic things, but the way they decided to do it messed us up.”

On Monday morning, Morelli told KNPR that Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange "refused to hear the motions, causing more frustration among Sanders' supporters."

Sanders supporters shouted vulgarities at Lange, as well as retiring California Senator Barbara Boxer, prompting Congressional candidate Lucy Flores - a Sanders supporter - to put out a statement asking Sanders' supporters "to speak out against: making threats against someone's life, defacing private property, and hurling vulgar languate at our female leaders."

The defacing public property comment is in referenc to graffiti (pictured below) on the Democratic Party headquarters building.

One Sanders supporter called KNPR to say he was at the graffiting, but dismissed the outrage, saying that the medium used was chalk, and was easily washable.

In the end, Clinton won by 33 votes at the convention. Her delegate total included 13 from winning the caucus on Feb. 20 and an additional seven from pools of at-large and party leader delegates.

Sanders received 10 delegates from the Feb. 20 caucuses, and another five from the at-large and party leader pools. If Sanders had won the convention, those extra delegates would have flipped - with Sanders getting seven and Clinton getting five. That would have put the final national delegate count at 18 for Clinton and 17 for Sanders.

Either way, Clinton won the state of Nevada.

Graffiti on outside walls of Democratic Party headquarters/ Twitter



(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


State Senator Tick Segerblom, D-NV