Nevada Party Member Received Death Threats, Harassed by Bernie Sanders Supporters

May 17, 2016 Updated: May 17, 2016

Supporters of Bernie Sanders had allegedly instigated violence and sent death threats to members of the Nevada Democratic Party after they were dissatisfied with the apportionment of delegates in the state. 

Roberta Lange, chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, said that her phone number was leaked, and she has received thousands of threatening messages on her phone, many of them death threats. 

“It’s been vile,” Ms. Lange told the New York Times. “It’s been threatening messages, threatening my family, threatening my life, threatening my grandchild.”

Lange said that at one point, she was receiving three text messages per minute. 

“Loved how you broke the system,” one person said in a text. The person said that they knew where Ms. Lange’s grandchildren went to school. “Prepare for hell. Calls won’t stop.”

The harassment has been condemned by the national Democratic Party. 

“Our democracy is undermined any time threats, intimidation, physical violence or damage to property are present,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chairman of the Democratic Party, said in a statement. “If there are legitimate concerns, they must be addressed in an orderly, civil and peaceful manner.”

Chair throwing, shouted profanities and even later death threats to party leaders marked the Saturday’s party meeting. The Nevada Democratic Party sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee accusing supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of having a “penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior—indeed, actual violence—in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting.”

Responding to the letter, Wasserman Schultz said, “There is no excuse for what happened in Nevada, and it is incumbent upon all of us in positions of leadership to speak out.”

Sanders’ supporters contended that the party leadership rigged the results of the convention, which locked in seven more delegates who pledged to support Hillary Clinton, compared with the five Sanders gained. The raucous affair ended Saturday night when security at the Paris Las Vegas casino said they could no longer ensure an orderly event.

“It was beyond the pale,” said Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman, a Clinton supporter who said she saw an elderly woman hit with a bottle amid the ruckus. “There’s no reason to do that. That’s the kind of shenanigans that they do on the other side.”

The Nevada dissension does not change the likely outcome of the Democratic nominating contest, in which Clinton holds a commanding lead in pledged delegates and is expected to lock up enough to clinch the party’s presidential nomination following primaries on June 7. But it points to the challenges Clinton will face in converting Sanders supporters to her side as Republican Donald Trump also targets disaffected Democrats who supported the Vermont senator.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Monday that it “is investigating threats being made to the Democratic office/members.”