2020 Democrats tailor messages to rural Nevada voters

Posted Tuesday, 18 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Volunteers working on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign were so determined to reach small-town Nevada voters that they traveled on horseback to their rural destination. Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, touching on many of the issues he stressed in stops to bigger metro areas — climate change, international alliances and how President Donald Trump is fracturing America. But, in an attempt to further appeal to rural voters, he also spoke on access to broadband internet, a peak issue for rural voters. Other candidates have taken to their websites to ask for volunteers to go door-to-door in areas like Elko, Ely and Winnemucca with hopes of securing votes in Saturday’s Democratic presidential caucuses. Many have opened field offices in these towns. While the rural counties overwhelmingly vote Republican, there are Democrats there, and they matter for the caucus process just like urban Democrats. Campaigns see the handful of voters in places like Fernley in Northern Nevada or Pahrump in Southern Nevada, and see a chance to steal a delegate or two in a contested race. “If I’m a candidate and I think I’m just not going to do well enough among the key unions in the Las Vegas area or if I think I’m just not going to do well enough with Latino voters, maybe I can look to the rural areas of the state to salvage my showing in Nevada,” said Kenneth Miller, an assistant professor of political science at UNLV.  The number of delegates from each county sent to the county convention is determined by a Nevada statute in which counties are allocated a certain number of delegates based on registered voters in a party. For example, a county with fewer than 400 registered Democrats would get one delegate per five voters, while a county with over 4,000 registered Democrats would get one delegate per 50 voters.  In January, there were 2,581 registered active Democratic voters in Churchill County, which equates to 86 delegates. At the lowest end of the list, Eureka County sits with 88 registered Democratic voters, which results in at least 17 delegates. Clark County and Washoe County, which have 94% of the state’s population, will receive a little over eight times the delegates of all the other counties combined, with at least 11,312 delegates selected in the two urban areas. Rural counties will send at least 1,369 delegates. That means candidates won’t be able to run away with the nomination carrying only rural counties — support in these areas can help fortify the results in the Las Vegas and Reno areas.  Nevada’s rural areas, of course, have long been a Republican stronghold. Every Nevada county besides Washoe and Clark voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. It was the same in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections, when the rural counties went to the Republican candidate.  This trend, along with much higher voter registration numbers for Republicans in rural counties, means that the buildup to the Democratic caucuses could be the last chance for rural voters to make an impact in determining the president.  “It’s mostly new and somewhat unique to this cycle,” Kimi Cole, chair of the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus, said of the attention to small Nevada towns. Paul Selberg, the state director for former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg, said the campaign is targeting rural areas to gather the most engagement from voters in the process as possible. Buttigieg's ability to relate with a variety of voters was on display three weeks ago when he took second in the Iowa caucuses. “Not only is Pete able to win a broad coalition, he’s also helping expand the electorate,” Selberg said.  Some of the issues important to rural Democrats — mining and lumber issues — are less relevant to urban areas. Other issues, like the ever-present water issue in the West, are statewide concerns.  One thing important to all: health care. The issue has taken center stage with debate over mandatory government-run health care versus a government-controlled option. In more rural areas, the topic of health care comes with a different necessity, Cole said.  “Most people in urban areas have … hospitals in their towns, they have doctors in their towns, they generally have options of where they go for health care,” Cole said. “Get out into the rural areas, you may have a clinic, you may have nothing at all, you may be a care flight or a four-hour drive from health care.” The split between supporters of more moderate candidates like Buttigieg and more progressive candidates like Sanders also exists in these rural areas, Cole said.  “There’s people who say, ‘Hey, I feel better with the status quo, I’d like to go back to some semblance of sanity here. I’ll stick with the moderate candidate,’” Cole said. “And then there’s the ones who say, We’re so frustrated with the entire system, we need dramatic, drastic change,’” he said. 

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Test your knowledge of Memorial Day Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Observed annually on the last Monday in May, Memorial day is set aside to honor the men and women who have died in service to our country. While it didn’t become an official national holiday until 1971, its origins begin with the Civil War. The quiz...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The coronavirus pandemic may have wiped out college graduation season, but the Las Vegas Valley’s Class of 2020 shines brightly even though it didn’t get its well-deserved turn in the spotlight. Today, we celebrate this year’s graduates from UNLV,...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

In some professions, helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus means working from home or keeping a respectful and safe distance from coworkers at the office. But when your office might be a burning building, social distancing becomes more...

The Notes: Philanthropy, May 25, 2020 Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Christensen Development’s Center Pointe Plaza and Trails Village Center shopping centers partnered with 15 tenants to purchase over $1,000 worth of food from each small business to donate to Summerlin Hospital,...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

During uncertain economic times, the unpredictable act of investing can be made even more unpredictable, local experts say. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic crisis in the United States, money decisions for average investors have certainly...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

If Nevada amateur baseball legends Bryce Harper or Kris Bryant were eligible for this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, not much would have changed for the sure-thing prospects. They would sign a pro contract, collect a...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

NEW YORK — New York Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb knew that he and first-year coach Walt Hopkins would have to make some tough decisions on the team's roster this year. He just didn't think they'd have to do it so quickly and without seeing...

Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

ATLANTA — One was a 94-year-old veteran of World War II who was the first of his 11 brothers to enlist in the military. One was a Vietnam veteran who lost his leg overseas and was always touched when people thanked him for his service. Another was...

Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Eddie Sutton waited so long to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He couldn't hang on long enough to make it to the ceremony. The man who led three teams to the Final Four and was the first coach to take four schools to the...

Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Immediately after giving his valedictorian speech, high school senior Philip Root, still clad in his cap and gown, climbed into a borrowed race car and drove up to the finish line at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With the yellow tassel of his graduation...

Ailes’ influence is terrifying Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

I just finished re-watching Showtime’s important documentary “The loudest voice in the room,” about the jaded career of Fox News creator Roger Ailes. There are millions of responsible conservatives who are devotees of this cable channel. When they...

GOP, Trump are indefensible Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The May 17 editorial, “An accommodating GOP, Trump are transforming America into a dictatorship,” was outstanding. You laid out the facts in such a way that they are both concise and undeniable. I encourage you to publish any letters that attempt to...

Trump sending us all into war Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

We do not have an Ahab obsessed with a white whale. We have a white whale obsessed with its ego and re-election. President Donald Trump says we should be his warriors. We should work, shop, mingle, etc., in crowded spaces. Will there be more coronavirus...

Ayatollah leading Iran back to the past Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Enough with the absurdities of Donald Trump and his mangling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Enough of all this talk about the tens of thousands of lives that researchers have concluded Trump’s dithering, narcissism, incompetence and intellectual vacuousness ...