Democrats expand voter registration lead to nearly 3,000

The attention focused on the Republican presidential battle between John McCain and George W. Bush apparently did the party no good in drawing new members.

February numbers released by the Secretary of State's Elections Division show Democrats expanded their newly-reclaimed registration lead to 2,917.

Democrats reclaimed the lead last September for the first time in five years with a margin of just 122 registered voters. By December, the spread was 1,226 more Democrats than Republicans in the state.

GOP officials had hoped strong interest in the primary battle between Bush and McCain along with the popularity of U.S. Senate candidate John Ensign would draw new members.

But, through February, those hopes haven't shown up on the bottom line.

Even so, the two major parties are still so close in Nevada and the minor parties so small that those listing themselves as "non-partisan" are the swing vote. A total of 128,474 Nevada voters declined to specify a party when they registered.

The largest minor party in the state is the Independent American Party with 17,350 registered voters. The Libertarians are far behind with 5,114 and, after that, no party has even 1,000 members in the state.

Republicans claim more registered voters than Democrats in 13 of Nevada's 17 counties. The largest spread is the GOP's 2:1 margin in Douglas but its numerical strength is a 14,755 vote advantage in Washoe.

Democrats hold small leads in Lincoln, Mineral and White Pine counties but more than make up the difference with 37,737 more registered voters in Clark.

Both parties as well as the small parties in the state are conducting registration drives to try convince voters to join them before the fall elections.


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