Defeated 2006 U.S. House candidate Jill Derby was elected to chair the Nevada Democratic Party last weekend.

Derby won the post on a 180-7-4 vote of the Nevada Democratic Central Committee against two lesser-known opponents.

She replaces Clark County commissioner and former state legislator Tom Collins.

Derby attracted attention for a well-organized and nationally well-connected congressional campaign that raised an unusual amount of money in a safe Republican district, which made her an attractive candidate for state party chair. What is less clear is why Derby would want the thankless post, since it likely will cast her in the role of a partisan. That was not a major problem for Collins, who comes from a heavily Democratic area, but it could make any future office-seeking Derby may have in mind more difficult. She lives in heavily Republican Douglas County, and Northern Nevada is far more closely divided between the parties than Southern Nevada.

In the course of the party meeting, the Democrats approved rules for the presidential nominating caucuses in January. Jayson Sime, a consultant who once worked in the Iowa caucuses, said that “organizationally and administratively, Nevada is ahead of the Iowa” caucuses, which is the first presidential nominating contest in the nation. Nevada is third.

State party spokesperson Kirsten Searer told the group that the party expects to have lots of “fun with the governor’s office.”

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...