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Texas Delegates for Clinton, Sanders Clash at Convention Breakfast

Marjorie Kamys Cotera
Texas Tribune
Signs at the Texas State Democratic convention in San Antonio on June 17, 2016.

A contentious scene unraveled here Tuesday morning at a meeting of Texas delegates after one criticized Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and a favorite of Lone Star State Democrats.

The tension erupted while delegates supporting Bernie Sanders, Clinton's primary rival, were arrayed on the stage at a daily breakfast convened by the state delegation. One of them, Russell Lytle of Denton, spoke hopefully of dialogue with Clinton supporters before taking a sharp turn against the former secretary of state. 

"We want to be clear," Lytle said. "We are currently condemning our current presumptive nominee."

That touched off an angry reaction from some in the crowd, sparking loud boos and bringing Clinton backers to their feet. One of the people who rose pointed his finger at the stage.

"Stop this nonsense!" he said. "You need to grow up!"

Garry Mauro, the Clinton campaign's top representative in Texas, took the microphone and tried to calm the room. He asked Clinton loyalists like himself to remember what it was like in 2008, when they arrived at the Democratic National Convention facing pressure to support presumptive nominee Barack Obama. 

Texas Democrats, Mauro said, need to put their egos aside as they welcome new people to the party. That did not go over well with some Clinton supporters in the crowd, who said Sanders had lost and it was his backers who need to put aside their egos. 

Lytle ultimately left the stage, where he could be seen speaking with state Sen. Royce West of Dallas, a longtime Clinton supporter. Approached by reporters, Lytle said his beef with Clinton lies is rooted in what he sees a less than open nominating process.

Once the brouhaha died down, another Sanders delegate, Jen Ramos, took the stage for remarks that were much more well received. 

"On behalf of the Bernie Sanders campaign, don’t cast off everyone just yet," said Ramos, who is from Austin. "While I am a Bernie Sanders delegate, I am first and foremost a Democrat."

With the crowd still buzzing about the dustup, state party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa came to the stage and suggested that Lytle's remarks were unexpected. “What you heard was not what was supposed to be said," Hinojosa told the delegation. 

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