How parties select delegates a study in contrasts |

How parties select delegates a study in contrasts

Both Democrats and Republicans from Nevada will send about the same number of delegates to their national conventions this fall, 33 and 34 respectively.

But how the two parties select those delegates is a study in contrasts.

Nevada Republican Party Executive Director Zac Moyle said the GOP process is straight and simple. Those who want to attend the national convention simply have to convince enough delegates to the April 26 state convention in Reno that they should go.

“We’re the Republican Party. We don’t have any type of quotas.”

Altogether, Nevada’s GOP will send 34 delegates to Minneapolis Sept. 1-4.

Democrats, by contrast, will use a comparatively complex process with four different categories of national delegates, seats assigned by gender, some voted on in district caucuses, others by the convention as a whole and one picked by the party chair.

Executive Director Travis Brock said in three of those categories, seats are specified by gender “to assure overall an equal number of men and women are elected because we have a gender-balanced delegation.”

Category one consists of 16 district delegates elected from the state’s three congressional districts. District 1, the seat held by Democrat Shelley Berkley, has six delegate seats – three male and three female.

District 3, held by Republican Jon Porter has four seats – two men and two women.

District 2, held by Republican Dean Heller, covers the majority of the state and has the most complex assignment of its six delegates: One male and one female from Clark County, one rural male, one Washoe male and two Washoe females.

All will be elected at congressional district meetings during the state convention May 17-18 in Reno.

The second type of Democratic delegate is the “party leaders and elected officials.” Any elected public official or party leader is eligible for one of those three slots. One must be male, two female.

Then there are six at-large delegates, one man and one woman from each of Nevada’s three congressional districts, but elected by the convention as a whole.

Finally, there are the eight so-called super delegates, all but one of whom has already been named. They are Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Shelley Berkley, National Committeeman and state Sen. Steven Horsford of Las Vegas, National Committeewoman and state Sen. Dina Titus of Las Vegas, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who chairs the Association of State Democratic Attorneys General and Yvonne Atkinson Gates of Las Vegas who is the Democratic National Committee’s at-large member.

The eighth super delegate is an unpledged delegate who will be nominated by the chair and voted on by the state convention.

Altogether, that makes a delegation of 33 Democrats to the National Convention in Denver Aug. 25-28.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.