Three’s a crowd: Local Nevada Democratic office shares space with Hillary, not Bernie
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling for more than just voters in Nevada’s caucuses ‒ their campaigns are also bickering about space in local Democratic offices. In the wake of a data breach scandal, some wonder if there’s an anti-Bernie bias.
In Nevada’s state capital, the Clinton campaign rented space from the Carson City Democrats. They have a back room in the local party organization’s office suite. At the time Clinton’s Carson City office opened in early December, neither the Sanders nor the Martin O’Malley presidential campaigns had offices in the city.
“Our office in Carson City had extra space beyond what our local party organization needs, and the Clinton campaign inquired about renting this extra space,” Marty McGarry, chairwoman of the Carson City Democrats, told RT. “Their presence helps us pay expenses for our all-volunteer office that does not receive any money from the state party.”
The Sanders campaign, which runs nine offices in Nevada, including one in Carson City that opened in mid-December, was not offered space in any local Democratic Party offices, nor did they inquire about such vacancies.
“We are running a clean operation in the state, and believe that impartiality in the caucus process is of the utmost importance,” Joan Kato, the Nevada state director for the Sanders campaign, told RT. “In fact, I'm proud to say that none of our offices are located within the Nevada State Democratic Party or any of their affiliate offices."
The Clinton campaign, both at the national and the state levels, did not respond to RT’s repeated requests for comments. However, Tim Hogan, the Hillary for Nevada communications director, told Vice News’ Pete Voelker that the former secretary of state’s campaign doesn’t see an issue with the shared suite.
"This space is like any other office space," Hogan said. "There was space for rent and we pay for our portion of the office."
Sanders supporters have used the shared office space as more evidence of the national party’s pro-Clinton bias on the heels of last Friday’s Democratic National Campaign database scandal that led to Sanders filing a lawsuit against the DNC, combined with yet another Saturday night primary debate ‒ this one hidden behind a National Football League game and holiday parties.
The so-called Berniegate scandal ‒ when a member of the Sanders campaign accessed data from the Clinton campaign after a software glitch by NGP VAN, the contractor that manages the DNC’s voter database ‒ led to questions about potentially improper connections between the company and both the DNC and the Clinton campaign. NGP VAN CEO Stu Trevelyan worked on the 1992 Bill Clinton and Al Gore campaign and later served in President Clinton’s White House, while NGP founder Nathan Pearlman was Clinton’s chief technology officer during her 2008 presidential run. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz endorsed then-Senator Clinton when she first sought the White House as well.
The campaigns are flocking to Nevada ahead of its February 20 caucuses, dubbed the ‘First in the West’. It is almost unheard of for presidential hopefuls to share spaces with local party offices before becoming the official party candidate, Sanders supporters note.
“There is not ONE SINGLE OFFICE I have worked in that shared their office with only one candidate. Never. Not once. The resources of the office were available to all candidates,” user Luminous Animal wrote in a Democratic Underground forum. “Le Taz Hot has documented her trials and tribulations of getting her local Dem office to carry Bernie campaign material. They flat out won't do it.”
“Never is right, until you are the nominee, THEN you become a 'coordinated campaign' and not before,” user ViceGrip added.
At US Uncut, Amanda Girard listed five “blatant examples” of the DNC “tipping the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primaries” ‒ in violation of its own rules. Along with stacking the primary schedule, co-located offices and Berniegate, she also pointed out that the DNC’s finance chair, Henry R. Muñoz III, was caught organizing a fundraiser for Clinton over the summer, despite strict rules requiring impartiality from DNC national officers and staff until the party’s nominee has been selected. Girard also noted that the DNC worked with Clinton to get commitments from 20 percent of party superdelegates by August ‒ long before the first debate was held, let alone the primaries and caucuses.
McGarry did not specifically answer RT’s questions as to any image issues a voter entering the Carson City office might have with regards to the lack of separation between the Clinton campaign’s area of the office and the main section that the county party uses. Nor did she answer whether the Clinton campaign has used the main part of the office, as photos on their Facebook page imply they have, or what arrangements were made for that use.
“At the request of the state party, we are in the process of reviewing this situation to address the Sanders campaign's concerns and will work to ensure there is a clear separation between our party office and the space that the Clinton campaign is renting,” McGarry said. “We will continue to work with all three Democratic presidential campaigns to ensure they all have a prominent presence in our office.”
The state Democratic Party also told RT that they are working with both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns to resolve any shared-space issues.
“Since we were made aware of the situation with the county party office in Carson City, we have been working diligently with all sides to reach a solution that satisfies the Sanders campaign and all involved,” Roberta Lange, president of the Nevada State Democratic Party, said in an email.
O’Malley’s campaign, which does not have any offices in Carson City, did not respond to a request for comment.
Aliza Krichevsky, RT