Lyon teens get a lesson in Nevada’s election importance |

Lyon teens get a lesson in Nevada’s election importance

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Brian Hutchinson, field director for the state Democratic Party, explains the caucus system Wednesday. More than 500 seniors from Lyon County high schools gathered at Silver Stage High School in Silver Springs for the event.

Nevadans -do you like the down-home upstart politics of Nevada Sen. Rick Bobby (not to be confused with his faux KFC-lovin’ Nascar namesake)? Or do you prefer the policy mongering of political juggernaut Billary Guliobama (not to be confused with, well, you-know-who)?

Don’t know? Names don’t ring a bell? What exactly does this mean?

You are not alone. Welcome to mock-caucus day at Silver Stage High School. More than 500 seniors from throughout Lyon County gathered inside the Silver Stage High School gymnasium Wednesday morning for two hours of “raucous caucusing” as one organizer put it.

The task: To simulate the real Nevada caucuses, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19.

The purpose: To inform Nevadans that as the third state to stage a primary or caucus, the eyes of the nation will peer toward Nevada, not only to act as a political sounding board, but perhaps to get a glimpse of who the West’s choice for Democratic and Republican presidential nominees will be.

“We can’t underscore the importance of our being (chosen) to caucus enough,” said Jill Derby, chairwoman of the Nevada Democratic party. “We’ll have the eyes of the nation on us.”

Command central in Las Vegas on caucus day will collect results from more than 1,750 precincts from throughout the state. In each precinct (people will turn out in neighborhoods and report results based on consensus) will report to Vegas headquarters – and by the day’s end, all 50 states will know the pulse of Nevada.

“Today we’re here to make sure that the class of ’08 knows they have a chance to lend a voice and we’re pretty jazzed about it,” Derby said. “Even though the process can be confusing, these young people seem to get it right away.”

Brian Hutchinson, a field director for the Nevada State Democratic Party, led the students in a “nonpartisan effort to see how the caucus system works.”

And worked it did – within 10 minutes the students divided themselves into mock precincts and were already casting votes – an overwhelming number in favor of Billary as well as another pseudo candidate named Richard Powerhouse – who mock-represented America’s heartland values.

“They created all the candidates themselves and they’re having fun with it,” said Jennifer Crowe, a state Democratic Party spokeswoman. “Nevada is tentatively slated to be the third to take place in the nation, after the Iowa (caucus) and New Hampshire (primary).

“People here lobbied hard, states all over the West wanted this caucus – we got it. I think it says something about Nevada’s significance on the national stage, and it also will say something about the Nevadans who participate.”

While confused at first with the notion of being tasked to select a mock-candidate, Darren Boone, 17 a senior at Silver Stage, quickly (and literally) fell into the Billary line.

“Hey, I think we’re figuring out what’s going on,” he said, smiling. “I just like this candidate because this guy next to me helped create him … or her.”

Jessie Bader, 15, a sophomore at Silver Stage, helped organize the event on behalf of the school’s honor society, said she was curious to see how the event would go as a precursor to the real deal in January.

“I think all of us here are interested in the caucus,” she said. “It’s a first for the state and it’s the first time a lot of my (friends) will vote. This is a good preview, I think.”