The “Harry Reid wing” is back in control of the state Democratic Party in Nevada.
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, D-Las Vegas, became the newly elected chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party Saturday, replacing incumbent chair Judith Whitmer in a 314-99 vote and ending the reign of Democrats aligned with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over the state party in the purple state.
“Thank you, Nevada Democrats!” Monroe-Moreno said in a Twitter post. “This victory belongs to all of us fighting to unite our Democratic family because we know how much we are capable of when we come together as one team.”
She becomes the first Black woman to serve as party chair in Nevada. Backed by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, U.S. Reps. Susie Lee, Dina Titus and Steven Horsford and former Gov. Steve Sisolak, as well as several powerful unions, her campaign slate won all seats through a message of unity and transparency, and by promising to rework the way the party functions, according to The Nevada Independent.
In 2021, Whitmer and her slate of progressive and Democratic Socialist candidates, endorsed by Sanders, won party leadership elections. This led several establishment Democrats who were a part of the “Reid Machine,” so named because of their alignment with late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to quit and form their own party apparatus, the Nevada Democratic Victory, according to an Intercept report at the time.
It didn’t help Whitmer that just before she took control, the state party transferred large amounts of funds to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which “pretty much burnt the house down,” Whitmer told Politico.
What could have been a blueprint for progressive Democrats in how to take control of state parties instead became a lesson in what not to do, as Sanders’ campaign later revealed their unhappiness with Whitmer.
“The senator is pretty disappointed in Judith’s chairmanship, specifically around her failure to build a strong grassroots movement in the state,” a person familiar with Sanders told Politico. “It was a big opportunity for Bernie-aligned folks in the state to prove some of the folks in the establishment wrong. And that hasn’t happened.”
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Whitmer recently faced pressure to resign after 230 members of Nevada State Democratic Party’s central committee were removed from a membership list before party elections in March. Whitmer claimed she was simply following procedure for those members who failed to attend two consecutive meetings. The Democratic National Committee sent election observers to the party’s state convention after party members expressed concerns over the fairness of the vote.
Monroe-Moreno said she is ready to try to unify the state party. “That means raising the resources to be successful, restoring trust with our grassroots members and local elected leaders, and serious year-round organizing in every corner of the state,” Monroe-Moreno said prior to the election.