Who is the perfect candidate for Nevada?

Every day this week has brought new and big political names to Northern Nevada and by now those who plan to participate in Saturday's caucuses should have a much clearer picture of who's the perfect Nevada presidential candidate.

The problem is that there is no one who fits that description.

Nevada may have the opportunity to speak for the West, to be a tiebreaker so far in the presidential race, but there's really nothing unique about the issues Nevadans find important. An unscientific poll on the Appeal's Web site bore that out. About 1,000 people participated, with about 40 percent saying immigration was the biggest issue to them, followed by the economy at 22 percent, the war at 13 percent and health care at 11 percent. Issues considered unique to our state, including Yucca Mountain. and water rights, barely registered.

On most of the issues, the viable candidates offer only subtle differences. Those Republicans who favor the candidates with the strictest views on illegal immigration will likely favor Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee. Both support a fence along the border. Huckabee says he's against any type of amnesty and Paul is in favor of deporting all illegal immigrants and ending automatic citizenship to babies of illegal immigrants.

The differences are subtle with most of the remaining candidates from both parties, with most favoring the fence and other types of controls, such as more border agents and employment verification systems.

The other issues? If you listen to them, every candidate is the candidate of change, every candidate is opposed to Yucca, every candidate will find a way to successfully end the war in Iraq.

In the end, there may be no way to vote "Nevada" in the caucus. The issues are diverse and so are Nevadans themselves.

But there's a formula that has been known to work - find the issues that are most important to you and, once you've done a little research, you'll have found the right candidate.

• This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal editorial board


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