Erin Bilbray, the failed congressional candidate who tore the Nevada Democratic Party apart last year by leading a doomed revolt at the state convention, has dropped out of the chair race only days after filing.
Party leaders and insiders had feared her candidacy would spark a replay of the Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton battle in the state, and desperately tried to recruit an alternative before settling on promising newcomer William McCurdy, the freshman assemblyman.
Many were surprised when Bilbray ally and fellow Sandersista Owen Carver also filed last week to run in the March 4 election. This morning, in a blast email, Bilbray withdrew her candidacy and endorsed Carver:
Owen Carver and myself are good friends. We have always agreed that we would support each other in any race. Last night we sat down and discussed the best way to build a strong Nevada State Democratic Party, and as a result, I am withdrawing my candidacy for State Party Chair.
Owen has the vision and leadership skills needed to bring everyone in our party together. I encourage you to join me in voting for him for State Party Chair on March 4, 2017and look forward to working with him to elect Democrats to office in 2018.
Carver is a tech guy who lost an Assembly race in 2016. He is pretty unknown but will now have to carry Bilbray's baggage.
McCurdy already has garnered some elected endorsements, with more on the way, I'm told. Maybe he would hire Bilbray as the party's executive director if he wins....
Insiders believe McCurdy can get the votes on the central committee. But it would not be the first time a candidate with elected endorsements failed in that venue, and this will be a meaningful harbinger of what's to come in the past-Reid Machine era.