By Jacob Solis
Though former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have narrowly won the day back in February when Nevada held its Democratic caucus, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is certainly not out of the race when it comes to nabbing a majority of Nevada’s 35 pledged delegates.
Sanders picked up two delegates on Saturday after his supporters swept through the conventions in Clark and Washoe Counties. These results switch up the delegate balance in the state from 20–15 for Clinton to 18–17 for Clinton. However, these numbers might change even more with the state convention still left in play, according to veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.
The delegate toss-up happened in the first place because while county-level delegates are bound to support whichever candidate won their precinct, there were a large number of elected delegates that simply didn’t show up.
The Las Vegas Sun noted that while more than 9,000 county delegates were elected during the caucus, only 3,800 actually showed up to the various conventions. This is in addition to 900 or so alternates and 600 unelected alternates.
All these new county delegates will decide which state delegates will go to which candidate during the May 15 state convention. Due to party rules, however, they are only deciding the fate of 12 of the 35 delegates.
Therefore, even though Sanders lost Clark County by roughly 10 percent, he beat Clinton in the county delegate count by almost 11 percentage points. The reversal was about the same statewide, as Sanders took home 55 percent of the delegates versus Clinton’s 45 percent. It’s a stark reversal of Clinton’s 52–47 win during the February caucus.
Sanders’ state director, Joan Kato, was notably pleased after the announcement, saying, “We pretty much won Nevada,” according to the Sun.
Despite the win, Nevada’s eight superdelegates could still swing the state back toward Clinton, but none of those superdelegates are committed to a vote one way or the other, and could change their mind during the Democratic National Convention itself.
The conventions weren’t without other controversies as well. The Clark County credential’s chair, Christine Kramar, was suspended during the convention after Clinton staffers raised concerns over her impartiality.
When Kramar tried to enter the convention, she was officially suspended. This led to a sit-in by Kramar that almost ended with a charge of trespassing, though a deal brokered by state Sen. Aaron Ford, D-District 11, avoided any criminal charges.
At the end of the day, the Sanders camp denied that it had been shown any bias in its favor, and criticism arose over the Clinton camp’s requests, which included several drastic rule changes according to a letter they sent to Clark County party chair Chris Miller on Wednesday.
Kramar called these rule changes an ultimatum and said that the convention would need to be delayed to enact them, but the Clinton campaign has denied this, saying it always wanted the convention to continue as scheduled, again according the Sun.
For her part, Kramar was flustered after the ordeal.
“I’m just in shock,” Kramar said in an interview with the Sun. “I’m trying to keep it equal and fair. I pissed off an equal number of Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters.”
The state party convention is on May 15, while the national convention is on July 25.
Jacob Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.