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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 26, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 09
Harry Reid wins Nevada for Hillary

Campaigns trade charges of dirty tricks
Section One
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Harry Reid wins Nevada for Hillary

Campaigns trade charges of dirty tricks

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid helped Hillary Clinton win a narrow victory in his home state of Nevada, according to political insiders quoted by Amy Chozick in the New York Times.

Pre-caucus polling had showed Clinton and her rival Bernie Sanders running neck and neck in a state where Clinton was assumed to be the prohibitive favorite.

Reid, although officially neutral at the time, reportedly called his longtime political ally, D. Taylor, president of UNITE HERE, the parent union of Nevada's powerful Culinary Workers Union, and asked him to turn out union members for the state caucuses.

Facing tough contract fights - including one with a Donald Trump-owned casino in Las Vegas - UNITE HERE wanted to stay out of the caucus process, but Taylor ultimately agreed to help.

Taylor was 'extremely cooperative,' Reid told Chozick. 'Probably 100 organizers will be at the caucus sites and in hotels to make sure people know what they're doing,' or, in other words, supporting Clinton.

Reid also called casino owners to get them to allow employees to take time off to attend Democratic caucuses.

As a result of Reid's intervention, Clinton won all six casino-area caucuses, with hundreds of union workers showing up.

Reid also encouraged leaders of other unions to rally their members in Clark County, the area around Las Vegas, for Clinton. Clinton won Clark County by 10 points, meaning that Sanders would have had to crush her in northern Nevada to win.

As it was, Sanders crushed Clinton among young voters, the 17-29 cohort, by 68 points. He also won the 30-44 group by 27 points. Entrance polls also showed Sanders winning among Hispanic voters, while Clinton won 76% of African-American voters.

Reid formally endorsed Clinton on February 25.

After the caucuses, both sides traded inflammatory charges.

RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the National Nurses United Union, which endorsed Sanders, accused Clinton staffers of impersonating members of her union to confuse voters. She later posted photos of people she said were Clinton supporters changing into red shirts identical to the ones worn by her members while campaigning for Sanders.

ABC News also reported that Clinton supporters were conducting push polls ahead of the caucuses testing attack lines against Sanders.

Clinton supporter and farmworker activist Dolores Huerta charged that Sanders supporters chanted 'English only!' as she attempted to translate between English and Spanish during a caucus held at Harrah's Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Actresses Susan Sarandon and Gaby Hoffman, Sanders supporters who were also present at the Harrah's caucus, provided video evidence debunking Huerta's claims. The video showed the caucus moderator ruling that participants should only speak in English after failing to find a neutral translator.

Currently Clinton leads Sanders among elected convention delegates by 51 to 50, but she has a huge lead in unelected 'superdelegates.' The so-called superdelegates are Democratic party leaders and elected officials, who are entitled to go to the national convention without having to be elected by their state organizations.

The superdelegate system was introduced in the 1970s after Jimmy Carter won the Democratic nomination in spite of the hostility of most Democratic party officials. This year about 30% of the national convention delegates will be unelected superdelegates.

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