Capital not represented in Democratic delegation

There are 34 Nevada delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver but, unlike past years, none of them are from the state's capital.

The reason, according to Carson City Democratic Chairman Steve Platt, is complex and based on a new set of party rules that proved unfavorable to the capital.

Four years ago, the capital was lumped together with Washoe County and had a much better shot at winning a seat.

"In '04, we had three Carson City people at the convention, one elected to represent rural Nevada and the other an at-large (delegate)," he said.

According to the system now used by the party to select delegates, there are different categories of delegates, including those selected in congressional district caucuses, those picked by the convention as a whole and super delegates.

In addition, seats are specified by gender, according to Executive Director Travis Brock, "to assure overall an equal number of men and women are elected." Ethnicity is a factor as well.

In addition, seats throughout the state were apportioned according to the proportion of Democrats in each geographical area.

The rules, Platt said, "have all kinds of components."

The first group consists of 16 district delegates selected by state convention delegates from the three congressional delegates. District 1 in Las Vegas has six seats divided equally between men and women. District 2 in Las Vegas has four delegates " two men and two women.

District 3, which covers Washoe, a part of Clark and the entire remainder of the state, had six delegates. Because of party registration, that was broken down into seats for one man and one woman from Clark County, one man and two women from Washoe and one rural male delegate.

So, when all the rules were applied, Platt said, Carson City and the 15 rural counties wound up with just one district delegate. Platt said several Carson City residents tried for that seat but it went to Lance Whitney, 28, of Elko " the northeast Nevada director for the Obama campaign.

The second category of delegate is the party leaders and elected officials " one male and two women.

Then there are six at-large delegates " one man and one woman from each of the congressional districts but elected by the convention as a whole. Platt said Carson City had a chance at two of those seats but, again, couldn't get the votes.

And there was one "unpledged add-on delegate" elected at-large with no strings attached.

Finally, there are the eight super delegates Including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rep. Shelley Berkley, and party officials such as state party chairman Sam Lieberman.

Platt said Carson representatives worked at the state convention to get on the selection committee, raised the issue with the executive board and tried to change some of the rules, but had no success.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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