January 14, 2008
A lawsuit filed late Friday in federal court seeks to stop the Democratic Party from holding caucus meetings at nine Strip hotels, which would diminish the influence of casino workers and hamper Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign.
Kirsten Searer, communications director for the Nevada Democratic Party said. “These rules have been approved by the Democratic National Committee and the campaigns have been fully informed throughout this process, which started in May.”
Barack Obamba responded at a rally by saying. "Ever since I got the support of Local 226, the lawyers decided to get involved. The rules were OK when the other campaigns thought they would win the Culinary endorsement," Obama said."As soon as you decided to support the outsider, the working people instead of the big shots, all the sudden they decided they wanted to change the rules."
The lawsuit, filed on behalf the the Nevada State Education Association, Supporters of Hillary Clinton, could be a huge miscalculation by those backing it and could unite the Culinary Union like never before.
By J. Patrick Coolican, David McGrath Schwartz, Michael Mishak
Sun, Jan 13, 2008 (2 a.m.)
Nevada’s largest and most politically active union fired back Saturday at an attempt to shut down caucus sites on the Strip intended to allow its workers to caucus Jan. 19, when state Democrats make their choice for a presidential nominee. Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer D. Taylor demanded that Nevada’s Democratic elected officials and the presidential campaigns denounce a lawsuit that would eliminate the nine “at-large” caucus locations designed for shift workers, both union and nonunion. Shutting down the sites, which allow anyone who works within 2 1/2 miles of one to caucus there, would undermine the legitimacy of the caucus, he said.
By Taylor’s logic, the lawsuit could threaten the future of Nevada’s early presidential voting status.
“This is an attempt to wholesale disenfranchise people who are largely women, largely people of color, and people who do the kind of work that makes this town go,” Taylor said. The campaigns and senior Democratic officials “have to condemn this. Anything short of that will clearly be a sign that they obviously think it’s OK to disenfranchise voters.”
The Clinton campaign, which unsuccessfully sought the 60,000-member union’s endorsement, declined to take up Taylor’s offer.
“Not for us to decide,” said Rory Reid, Clinton’s state chairman, in an e-mail to the Sun. “We just want the process to be fair.”
The campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who received the endorsement last week, quickly condemned the lawsuit.
“We believe as a party, and a country, we should be looking for ways to include working men and women in the electoral process, not disenfranchise them,” said David Cohen, the campaign’s state director.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Nevada State Education Association and five party activists, claims that those voting in at-large precincts would have too much weight compared with those voting at their neighborhood polling places, violating the equal protection law of the U.S. Constitution. It also claims the at-large precincts violate state law in the way they were drawn.
But a major premise of the lawsuit appears to be false, according to a Sun analysis.