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Tipsheet

Why Nevada Dems Are Imploding

AP Photo/John Locher

It is a period of civil war in the Nevada Democratic Party. The well-oiled machine the late Harry Reid built that ushered in a period of Democratic dominance could be over. The remnants of Reid’s operation have been purged from the reins of power as the far left swept the leadership races, and while some of Reid’s top allies, like Rebecca Lambe, have tried to broach a discussion that could lead to reunification, tensions have now boiled over. In October of 2022, we were warned that a crackup was coming. While Reid’s political infrastructure, established to save him from the incoming Tea Party wave in 2010, may have defended Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto from a serious challenge from Republican Adam Laxalt—it might be viewed as a last hurrah. It’s getting particularly nasty over there (via NBC News): 

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A fierce power struggle has broken out over who will run the Democratic Party in Nevada, a pivotal 2024 battleground that last year determined the balance of the Senate. 

And it’s getting ugly. 

There are calls for the sitting chair’s resignation. There are accusations that Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer steered contracts to allies. Two sparring sides accuse each other of attempting to fracture the party.

And new documents obtained by NBC News display the depths of the divisions and how they played out in the run-up to one of the closest Senate races in the nation.

Whitmer, part of a slate of democratic socialists who took over the party in March 2021, now fights to hang on ahead of her March 4 re-election, where she faces a challenge from Nevada Assemblywoman Daniele Munroe-Moreno. 

“They’re launching a smear campaign against me, personally,” Whitmer said in an interview with NBC News. 

A central part of the drama over Whitmer's tenure has been the decision by a group of previous party leaders to, a few months after she took over, break off from her control and form a rival Democratic entity in Washoe County called Nevada Democratic Victory. It essentially became a shadow party apparatus with aides tied to more establishment Democrats in the state, including Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen.

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There were even discussions to de-charter Washoe County Democrats from the state party, the key county where Cortez Masto found political salvation. All of this with a tight re-election in the backdrop; the far left contingent was mulling ways to set off a grenade in their tent. This action item was never acted upon, but as NBC News noted, it exemplified the divide and division among Nevada Democrats that they would consider poisoning their well.

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