Democratic caucus causes political family feud

Zack Clayton loves his mother, but today he is out to destroy her.

The 21-year-old is a precinct captain for Hillary Clinton. His mother, Linda, is a precinct captain for Barack Obama. They live in the same northwest valley home, walk the same neighborhoods and compete for the same voters.

At 11 this morning, they will square off at Arbor View High School in democracy’s version of a mud wrestling match.

It sounds like a funny situation, but there hasn’t been much laughter at the Clayton house lately.

At first, Zack and Linda would sit at opposite ends of the kitchen table, spread out their voter lists and make campaign calls together.

“Then we got where we just didn’t talk (to each other), and my office became my truck,” Linda said. “I didn’t want him to see my stuff.”

“This is the longest we haven’t talked in a while,” Zack said.

The situation came to a head last weekend.

“She got mad at me Sunday because we both wanted to go canvassing, and we wanted to do it on the same day,” Zack explained.

Since then, the two have been tense and guarded around each other. They will exchange pleasantries and small talk, but politics is off-limits.

And don’t even get them started about the teachers union’s lawsuit to block at-large precincts on the Strip.

When Linda brought it up a few days ago, Zack said he just went upstairs. “I knew that was going to be ugly.”

Neither of them could recall the last time they fought like this.

“When I was 17 you threw your keys at me,” Zack finally said to her.

“You were egging it on,” she replied.

A recent Review-Journal poll gives Clinton the edge on Obama, but at home Zack is hopelessly outnumbered. His brother, Ryan, 19, and sister, Brittany, 17, are both supporting their mom and her candidate.

So is Zack’s father, Barry.

“It’s been kind of weird, because I’m on my wife’s side,” Barry said. “But even though I’m an Obama supporter, I’m proud of my son for getting involved in the political process.

“I’ve been kind of the peacemaker. I was trying to patch things up between them,” he said.

Linda joked that Zack is the “black sheep of the family.”

Zack agreed. “It’s an Obama household. I just live there.”

So which captain will capture the most delegates today in precinct 3514?

“Me,” Linda said without hesitation.

Zack said Obama probably has the most supporters in the precinct. To counteract that, his plan is to try to eliminate Edwards from the running early and “win over their supporters.”

Based on the mock caucuses she has seen, Linda expects there to be yelling today.

“They have to yell, because if they let me talk they’ll lose,” Zack said with a smile.

You wouldn’t know it to talk to them, but for most of their lives, these two hard-core Democrats were actually Republicans.

Their allegiances began to shift at about the same time early last year, though Zack said they each came to the choice on their own.

“I was 2,000 miles away when I was becoming a Democrat,” he said.

Zack was in Iraq at the time. The Marine reservist spent seven months in the war zone with the 6th Motor Transport Battalion out of Nellis Air Force Base.

Mostly, the job involved driving a lieutenant around Anbar province.

“We didn’t see any ‘Saving Private Ryan’ stuff, but we were in some combat situations,” Zack said.

A few of the convoys he was in were hit by roadside bombs, and his armored Humvee took small arms fire about once a week, but he came home without a scratch.

Nonetheless, the experience changed him.

“I didn’t see any progress over there in the whole seven months,” he said.

That realization caused him to take a hard look at his political views. In the process, he discovered he wasn’t a Republican after all, though he is still registered as one.

He plans to remedy that just before the caucus begins.

The war also started Linda down the path to changing parties. She said her loyalty to the Republican Party was finally broken when Zack’s unit was deployed.

After that, she started taking a serious look at the Democratic candidates. In Obama she said she saw a fresh face, “not the same two names that have been in the White House for a million years.”

The kindergarten teacher started volunteering for Obama in March, when he opened his first campaign office here. Within a few weeks, she was a precinct captain.

Zack got home from Iraq in September. He decided to get involved with the Clinton campaign after her disappointing finish in Iowa, and just before the Culinary union, Nevada’s largest labor organization, chose to endorse Obama.

“I guess I took (it) for granted. I just thought she would win,” he said.

His mother encouraged him at first. Then he became a precinct captain.

“I kind of fell into this position,” Zack said.

“I think that has been the biggest part of the strain. He knew since March I was working on this,” Linda said. “I think at that point that hurt me. It felt to me a little like a slap in the face.”

Now both are eager for the competition to be over so they can put it behind them.

It won’t be easy.

Zack said regardless of who ultimately wins the nomination, he and his mom would “probably end up on the same team.”

But Linda isn’t so sure. She said she doesn’t know if she can ever support Hillary.

“She’s taken too much special-interest money, and I think she is using Bill too much. I don’t see her standing on her own two feet.”

Zack started to fire back, then stopped himself. Whatever he had to say could wait until today.

Of course, the Clayton family feud might not end with the caucus.

Zack and Linda are each in line to become a delegate to the Clark County Democratic Convention, and both have said they would love to represent their candidates at the national convention.

“I wish there was some way my mom could win and my candidate could get the nomination. I really wish there was a way we could both win.

“Not all of those things can happen,” he said.

Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0350.

News Videos
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Mylar Balloon Demo
NV Energy presented a demonstration Wednesday to depict the damage that can be caused by the release of Mylar balloons.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students. Educators from around the State are bringing the Red for Ed movement to the steps of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, NV, and to the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing