Judith Whitmer, Nevada Democratic Party Chair, and Alana Mounce
Judith Whitmer’s election as chair of the Nevada Democratic Party is about more than progressives toppling the old guard machine. It’s also about retooling the state party to empower marginalized communities in Nevada.
After the election, party executive director Alana Mounce informed Whitmer that everyone on her small staff had resigned. This is a problem.
After the election of a new executive board, the Nevada State Democratic Party is set to move forward with a plan for 2022. The Nevada Review-Journal calls it a “major power shift.” This change will have a significant impact on how the party functions in the state. In addition to determining fundraising efforts, the board will decide on the role of the party’s executive director.
As the executive director of Emerge Nevada, Lovell is working to build a bench of elected women in the Democratic Party in Nevada. She works with stakeholders, community members and political leaders to recruit and train women for elected office through the organization’s signature training programs.
She ran for the NDPC chair on a slate dubbed the Progressive Unity Slate and was backed by the Left Caucus and local chapters of Democratic Socialists of America. She has worked on campaigns in North Carolina, and has managed gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races for Democrats.
Born Richard Smith in Cheltenham, England, O’Brien emigrated to New Zealand at age ten and subsequently developed an interest in comic books and horror films. He tried singing and became a fringe theater actor. He later adopted the stage name of O’Brien (his maternal grandmother’s maiden name) to avoid confusion with another actor named Richard Smith.
In 1972, he was cast by director Jim Sharman as an Apostle and Leper in the London stage production (transferred from Sharman’s native Australia) of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He later co-wrote the script for the film adaptation of The Rocky Horror Show released in 1975 and appeared in the movie as Riff Raff.
Jacob Brett-Turner is a Regional Get-Out-the-Vote Director for the Biden for President campaign in Pennsylvania and is also an organizer with NextGen America. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He has worked on progressive campaigns for more than a decade.
As Nevada’s Democratic Party executive director, Mounce oversaw the delegate selection process for the state’s six statewide elected offices. She also worked on Bernie’s 2020 caucuses, as well as Senator Cortez Masto’s campaign in 2018.
Mounce and her team at the party will be key to building a national grassroots network that can activate progressive pockets in the state, as they did with local groups like the Clark County Left Caucus.
Mounce’s hire was part of a larger effort to rebuild the party, which suffered a severe blow in the midterms after members of its central committee removed leaders and activists who supported Sanders’s candidacy. The party’s new leadership has recruited people from outside the state, including Travis Brimm, who managed North Carolina Democrat Cheri Beasley’s Senate run and other congressional races. He was also the deputy political director on the Biden-Harris campaign, where he led digital and distributed organizing. He previously directed programs at Organizing Together 2020 and the Democratic National Committee.
The new head of the Nevada Democratic Party, Judith Whitmer, has little to work with. The executive director of the state party, Alana Mounce, sent a message to her shortly after her election on Saturday to inform her that she, along with all members of the small staff, were quitting.
Mounce didn’t respond to a request for an explanation. But Keenan Korth, a member of the state party’s central committee who supports Whitmer, tells The Intercept that the mass resignation was “certainly made possible by the caucus outcome.”
Whitmer has also appointed Mississippi-born political strategist Travis Brimm to manage her 2022 campaign, Daily Ructions has learned. Brimm previously managed U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan’s re-election campaign and has worked on several competitive Democratic campaigns. He is a former director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. He will be based in the Nevada Democratic Party’s Las Vegas office. He will oversee the state party’s field operations, fundraising and communications.