"Holding an early caucus in Nevada will diversify the nominating process.  Nevada has a large minority population and the fastest growing labor population in West.  Our state party is hard at work and ready to launch this important event.  I look forward to welcoming all Democratic candidates to our great state.  A candidate who can win in Nevada will be able to win in the West and positioned for victory in 2008." -Sen. Harry Reid

"Nevada Republicans simply cannot afford to risk PERMANENT MINORITY STATUS in this state by not moving their presidential nominating caucus up to 1/19." -Chuck Muth

-Feb. 21, 2007 - AFSCME-sponsored forum at Carson City Community Center in Carson City, NV.
-March 24, 2007SEIU/Center for American Progress Action Fund "New Leadership on Health Care: A Presidential Forum" at UNLV in Las Vegas, NV.
-Aug. 14, 2007 - FOX News/Nevada Democratic Party/Western Majority Project debate focusing on Western regional issues in Reno, NV
-Nov. 15, 2007 - CNN/Nevada Democratic Party Nevada Democratic Presidential Debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, NV.  >
-Jan. 15, 2008 - Nevada Democratic Debate on Black-Brown Issues at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, NV.  >
Nevada Democratic Party
*Nevada Democratic Presidential Caucus
Nevada Republican Party
*The Nevada GOP Caucus

RGJ's Inside Nevada Politics
Las Vegas Gleaner
Vegas Pundit

Clinton Edwards Kucinich Obama former: Biden Dodd Richardson Headquarters Dem. Party
Giuliani McCain Paul Romney FThompson Rep. Party

New to the nominating calender for 2008 were the early Nevada precinct caucuses, held on Jan. 19, 2008 (originally scheduled for between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary). [press release]

Nevada Democrats were among a number of state parties that applied to the Democratic National Committee back in April 2006 to hold their caucuses early, in the pre-window period.  On  Aug. 19, 2006 at its summer meeting in Chicago the full DNC voted to add the Nevada caucuses to the pre-window period.

For a while it appeared that Nevada Republicans would be left to watch from the sidelines.  In early March 2007 the state GOP executive committee decided to move the party's precinct caucuses up to Feb. 7, 2008.  However, activists led by Chuck Muth and Pete Ernaut pushed for January caucuses, arguing although that would violate Republican National Committee rules and could cost half of the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention to do otherwise could relegate the party to permanant minority status.  The Nevada Republican Party State Central Committee approved the move to Jan. 19, 2008 in a near unanimous vote during its April 21, 2007 meeting in Carson City.

Nevada Democrats had a significant head start in preparing for their caucuses.  U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid encouraged Democratic presidential hopefuls to visit the state.  On Dec. 12, 2006, the Nevada Democratic Party announced its caucus team.  On Jan. 13, 2007 Reid, Rep. Shelley Berkley and others announced members of the "Nevada Caucus Commission" and a schedule of candidate issue forums and debates, the first of which was held on Feb. 21, 2007.  Republicans meanwhile operated for several months under an interim chairman before electing former state Senator Sue Lowden as state chair in April 2007.  They also faced concerns about the party's finances.  Pete Ernault took the lead in organizing the Republican caucuses.

Nevada has 1,763 precincts; Democrats organized 520 caucus sites, including nine at-large sites about which there was some controversy. [NSEA, response]  Republicans also had their own bit of controversy. [Paul campaign]

With a population of almost 2.5 million, Nevada is one of the fastest growing states.  Voter registration is fairly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans; of 996,665 registered voters in Jan. 2008 395,942 (39.73%) were Republicans, 407,420 (40.88%) were Democrats and 142,846 (14.33%) non-partisan.   Local issues include the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, water, land use and growth, and immigration.  According to Nevada Democrats, in addition to its rapid growth, the state has  "the highest union membership in the desert Southwest," a voting age population that is 31 percent minority, and  third-largest population of veterans in the United States (about 243,000 veterans are within voting age population, representing 17.4 percent of voters).  Interestingly in the 2006 election Democrats ran women candidates for governor and for all three U.S. House seats.

Democratic presidential candidates seen as having an early edge in Nevada included New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, by virtue of his Western background, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who assidiously courted organized labor.  Richardson, facing the likelihood of a poor showing, ended his campaign before the voting.  The coveted endorsement of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 went to Sen. Barack Obama.  Sen. Hillary Clinton meanwhile lined up numerous endorsements.  On Caucus Day,117,599 Democrats, about 30 percent of those registered, participated; Clinton and Obama dominated.  For the GOP caucuses  43,578 Republicans participated, delivering a solid win to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Saturday, January 19, 2008
Democratic Caucus Timeline   
(times after doors open are approximate and subject to change)
11:00 AM        Doors open.
11:30 AM        Caucus called to order.
(Note: anyone in line at 11:30 will still be admitted to the Caucus location)
Noon               First alignment of presidential preference groups.
2:00 PM          Returns start coming in (this time is approximate).  Results reporting center is the Cashman Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Precinct Caucus Rules [PDF]
Letters prepared for the Democratic Caucuses (Note: These were prepared in advance for the caucus packets; however several of the candidates -- Biden, Dodd and Richardson -- withdrew before the caucuses were held).
Republican Caucuses
"All caucuses begin at 9 am."
www.nvdemscaucus.com www.nvgopcaucus.com
www.hillaryclinton.com/hq/nevada www.johnedwards.com/nevada www.dennis4president.com/go/
joebiden.com/nevada chrisdodd.com/nv nevada.richardsonforpresident.com
June 14, 2007 grabs except Edwards June 29, 2007, Dodd Sept. 1, 2007, and NV Dems April 5, 2007.

Useful Links
Nevada Outdoor Democratic Caucus
Nevada State AFL-CIO
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 (UNITE-HERE)
Western Democrat
Stonewall Democrats of Southern Nevada
Eureka County Yucca Mountain Information Office, links COPAC Nevada
Muth's Truths
Copyright © 2007, 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action