Clark County Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer defeated Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Saturday to assume control of the Nevada State Democratic Party, ushering a dramatic shakeup of the state party’s power structure by its most liberal wing.
Three other progressives running alongside Whitmer captured four of the other officer positions during the election, which was held during a virtual meeting of the state party’s central committee. Whitmer received 248 votes to Segerblom’s 216 for the chair position.
Jacob Allen (first vice-chair), Dr. Zaffar Iqbal (second vice-chair) and Ahmed Ade (secretary) were also elected on Whitmer’s “progressive” slate. Lance Arberry (treasurer) was the lone winner for Segerblom’s “progressive unity” slate, defeating Howard Beckerman by just two votes.
Several central committee members complained of technical or administrator errors that kept them from voting in one or more races, but outgoing party leaders, including Chair William McCurdy II, ruled they would not have affected the outcome of any race.
Segerblom immediately congratulated Whitmer on Twitter, saying he hoped to work with her going forward.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit in-person campaigning, Whitmer and Segerblom competed for the endorsement of Nevada’s various Democratic clubs in a series of Zoom meetings leading up to the election.
While the two remained cordial to one another on social media, some of their supporters did not.
Whitmer’s followers accused Segerblom, one of the state’s lone lifelong progressive elected officials, of being too close to elected officials and the outgoing state party leadership.
Others accused Whitmer of seeking to use the chair position to force an ideological shift among Nevada’s more moderate elected Democrats and questioned her commitment to diversity within the party.
While Segerblom enjoyed support from prominent local, state and federal elected officials, Whitmer has spent years organizing and encouraging young progressives to serve on the very state central committee that elected her.
According to both candidates, the race drew the direct intervention of some of the state’s top elected officials, including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who will lead the Democratic ticket along with Gov. Steve Sisolak in 2022. Nevada’s senior senator reportedly approached Segerblom, who had not been considering a bid for the seat he once held in the early ’90s, about joining the race and questioned Whitmer on her candidacy.