After months of traversing the Silver State to get out the vote, candidates will move on after the state holds its caucuses, Saturday for the Democrats and Tuesday for the Republicans.
It has been a wild ride not only for the candidates as they drive, fly and sleepwalk across every corner of Nevada but also for the thousands of voters, many of whom are preparing to participate in the caucus process.
Since August’s Basque Fry in August that attracted a handful of Republican presidential candidates to Douglas County eager to press the flesh and deliver their canned speeches, Nevada has become a major battleground. Six months ago, no one would figure billionaire entrepreneur and businessman Donald Trump would be leading the dwindling pack of GOP candidates. Nevadans — particularly in the major population areas — caught a glimpse of Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or attended one of the many Republican rallies.
Hillary Clinton appeared to have a lock on the Silver State, but her close win in Iowa and a devastating loss in New Hampshire has given the Sanders’ camp renewed hope their candidate can upend the former first lady.
Although many Churchill County residents have traveled to Reno or Carson City to attend political rallies, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made stops in Fallon.
During the past month, many registered Churchill County voters told us they couldn’t be bothered with the caucus. That’s a shame because the early caucus makes Nevada a major campaign stop. The turnout will determine if Nevada keeps its early First in the West status in 2020 or it is relegated to a has-been status after the majority of other states have their primaries or caucuses.
A caucus is not a slam-dunk procedure of wiggling into a voting booth and casting a ballot. It is a process in which registered voters convince their friends to “join” their group or candidate. At stake are proportioned delegates for the winner and runners up.
The Democrats assemble first on Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. as precincts 1-19 meet at the Wolf Center behind Epworth United Methodist Church.
Many precinct captains for the Democratic caucus sat through training last week in preparation of this day.
Republicans meet on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. Precincts 1-6 will assemble at the Dry Gulch at the Churchill County Fairgrounds, while precincts 7-19 assemble at the multi-purpose building.
A caucus is more of a grassroots procedure to get more people involved with the election process.
As we previously said, in order for Nevada to keep its First in the West designation, residents need to attend a caucus by the thousands. Attendance more than that is a victory; attendance short of that is a defeat for the election process. Two hours is not a long time when deciding the next leader of this country and the free world.
Editorials appear on Wednesdays in the Lahontan Valley News