After the Clark County Democratic Convention, Bernie Sanders has flipped his close Nevada caucus loss to a win at the convention stage. The Sanders campaign pulled out a victory in Nevada’s most populous county at this weekend’s convention at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Sun reporter Megan Messerly confirmed the final delegate count, showing Sanders had flipped Clark County in his favor.
After realignment: 2,386 Clinton, 2,964 Sanders, & 7 uncommitted. 5,357 total.
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) April 3, 2016
The other most populous county, Washoe County, ended with 1050 delegates for Sanders and 833 for Clinton. It is unclear at this time exactly how many more delegates Bernie Sanders has picked up, as the final results will not be decided until the state convention in May.
The Clark County Democratic Convention was full of controversy from the beginning. But to give the full context of the controversy, it’s important to understand how the convention process works.
Delegates come in three forms:
- Elected delegates, which were selected at precinct caucuses.
- Alternate delegates, which were also named at the precinct caucuses,
- And unelected alternate delegates, who can become official delegates in the event a precinct’s elected delegates or alternate delegates don’t show.
The Credentials Committee for the Clark County Democratic Convention determines who exactly qualifies as a bona fide delegate in the event an unelected alternate steps in to become an official delegate. The committee is made up of four members appointed by Clark County Democratic Party Chair Chris Miller, with two representatives for Hillary Clinton and two representatives for Bernie Sanders in the interest of fairness.
On Friday night, accusations of cheating came from both sides, which resulted in the attempted removal of credential committee chair Christine Kramar.
“We caught the Hillary campaign cheating, we caught the Nevada Democratic Party secretary cheating,” said Angie Sullivan, another member of the credentials committee for the Clark County Democratic Convention. “When it was apparent Bernie started winning, they really turned up the heat.”
Sullivan alleges that the Clark County Democratic Party (CCDP) was sharing information with the Hillary Clinton campaign that was not being shared with the Bernie Sanders campaign, and this is why Kramer copied a Sanders campaign contact on an email correspondence with CCDP officials and Clinton campaign officials.
However, Clinton campaign attorney Marc E. Elias told a different story in a threatening email sent to CCDP Chair Chris Miller. Elias ordered Miller to remove Kramar from the credentials committee due to her sharing allegedly proprietary information belonging to the Clinton campaign with the Sanders campaign.
But Kristal Glass, a Sanders delegate who was also a member of the credentials committee, told US Uncut that Kramar was simply acting as an independent arbiter in accordance with party bylaws by making sure all parties were included in conversations about the convention.
“It was her job to make sure everything was fair leading up to the Friday night early registration,” Glass said. “[Kramar] CC’d the Sanders campaign about a conversation happening that they weren’t included in, which was against the convention process.”
Then, Glass alleged that Michelle White, political director for Hillary Clinton’s Nevada campaign, was pressuring volunteers at the registration site to register alternates as delegates.
“We had a member of a campaign walking around with a computer showing volunteers, saying, ‘They’re approved, so go ahead and add them,'” Glass told US Uncut. “It has to be brought to the credentials committee to vet the entire thing, that’s what our responsibility is.”
“You don’t change the rules at the 11th hour to favor your candidate,” Sullivan said.
After Kramar reminded the Clinton campaign and CCDP officials of the party bylaws, all hell broke loose when CCDP officials attempted to act on the orders received from Marc Elias to remove Kramar as chair by calling an executive session.
“The Sanders campaign attorney came by and told Christine, ‘They had some meetings about you and they’re going to remove you,’ they said they didn’t like her tone, and all of these excuses, and it was just lies to get the delegate count their way,” Glass said. “They wanted all the people who came to the caucus as alternates so they could be converted over.”
Video recorded by Angie Sullivan shows the entirety of the attempted meeting, which didn’t end up occurring after sustained pressure from observers:
But on the day of the actual convention, the CCDP pulled out all the stops to prevent Kramar from participating, even calling the police to remove her from the premises. That was when the other three members of the credentials committee, including the two delegates for Hillary Clinton, linked arms and sat down in the middle of the convention floor in solidarity with Kramar.
“They told her she was trespassing, even though she’s the credentials chair and an elected delegate,” Sullivan said. “We stood up to them and said, you’re not going to do this.”
Current status of the Clark County, Nevada credentials committee. pic.twitter.com/TOeWl5iaaD
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 2, 2016
At the 1:20 mark of the video below, the officer reads the trespassing statute to the seated members of the credentials committee, but then reiterates that he won’t be arresting them.
“We were standing in solidarity with Christine, because we knew if we didn’t stand strong, it would affect the integrity of the credentials and the voting,” Glass said.
But despite the controversy, Sanders still pulled out a victory in Clark County. Watch the crowd erupt into cheers and applause when the final numbers are read aloud by a CCDP official (numbers are read at the 1:30 mark)
The Nevada caucus win means that aside from virtually tying Hillary Clinton in Iowa, Sanders has won all of the caucus states. Despite the hard-fought win, Angie Sullivan said that if given the chance, she would prefer a primary to a caucus in a heartbeat.
“This is bad,” Sullivan told US Uncut. “The party is manipulating it too badly.”
Sanders’ campaign manager summed up the entire situation in a succinct statement.
Campaign manager Jeff Weaver on Clark County, Nevada Democratic Convention: pic.twitter.com/XPDR4dRSAs
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 2, 2016
A convention also changed the results of the election contest in the Republican race in Louisiana. While Trump came out ahead in the primary itself, due to his lack of underlying party infrastructure, he came out behind in the final delegate selection process.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact Tom via email at [email protected]