National Republicans focus on organizing in Nevada
January 17, 2018
The Republican National Committee has landed in Nevada and is beginning a major push to build support for the party ahead of the 2018 elections.
Dan Coats, the RNC's Nevada State Director, said they've had field staff "on the ground since June," building a volunteer organization, training them and organizing those volunteers into teams.
"We're identifying teams to go out to have Nevadans talk to Nevadans," he said.
The focus is on voter registration to cut down the Democratic registration lead that's some 100,000 voters at present and identifying individual voters the party needs to target to get them to the polls.
The GOP has a voter registration advantage in 16 of Nevada's 17 counties but Democrats outnumber Republicans in Clark County by more than 156,000.
Brian Parknitzke, director of turnout and targeting, said unlike the Democratic machine that was so successful for Barack Obama and Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada, their efforts aren't focused on specific candidates.
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"The Democrats built candidate centered operations," he said. "We're building around the party."
He said the goal is "building long lasting organizations on the ground and in the field."
"We're building the infrastructure up and down the ballot," said Coats.
To bring their neighborhood teams together, he said they're holding a meeting in Las Vegas Friday to "get everybody on the same page."
The focus of that effort is training and voter registration at present. Later on it will be ensuring turnout.
A major goal is to protect the Republican U.S. Senate seat currently held by Dean Heller — whether the eventual winner is Heller or his primary opponent Danny Tarkanian. Republicans nationally have said keeping that seat Republican is key to keeping control of the U.S. Senate.
In the past, Kristian Hemphill, regional director for the west, said they just "kind of popped field offices into the most populated counties." Now, he said, they're making a 17-county, statewide effort to build the party. Using sophisticated tools like a Walk Application, he said they'll reduce redundancies such as several people knocking on the same door while other voters are missed entirely. And that application will help them find the right doors to knock on, he said.
As for how important Nevada is to the RNC's national game plan, Coats said Nevada is the first state where field staff was deployed for the 2018 campaign season.