Nevada Democrats get ready to throw support behind candidates | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Democrats get ready to throw support behind candidates

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer

Nevadans who started work on Decision 2008 the day after George W. Bush was re-elected said they’re starting to “see momentum” for the protracted election season soon to grab the attention of the everyday voter.

Steve Platt, chairman of the Carson City Democratic Central Committee, is predicting Nevada will be an “important battleground state” in November 2008.

Before the partisan gloves come off for the general election, before the Democratic delegate is ceremoniously picked next Aug. 28 in Denver, Colo., before the faithful see their prediction of more surreptitious mudslinging between Edwards/Clinton/Obama come true – Carson Democrats are getting a chance to learn about the process and mock-appoint their top choice.

Local left-leaners of all stripes are invited to the SNEA Headquarters, 709 East Robinson St., in downtown Carson to attend a “mock caucus” at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

While officials admit the mock caucus may sound insignificant, as the election year draws nearer, such a straw poll takes on greater meaning.

“The caucus itself is the method we use to select our presidential candidates,” Platt said. “From both parties – they’ll be coming to Nevada to garner more supporters. The caucus is a way for different Democrats and Republicans to elect a nominee from the county to state level – and participate in the national convention.”

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The Nevada Democratic caucus will take place Jan. 19 and Platt predicts the biggest turnout in state history.

“I think part of it is we’ve seen the increase in significance of Nevada during elections,” Platt said.

Indeed, Nevada – a state almost evenly divided between registered Democrats and Republicans – has been an accurate barometer for the last 16 years when gauging the nation’s political climate.

“The last two elections, Nevadans chose Bush, the two before that, they chose Clinton,” Platt said. “Nevada has done well in helping select the next president of the United States.

“I think during the general election, attention will be paid to Nevada because of its large and growing population and the way we represent the Mountain West with a diverse and culturally divided demographic.”

Carson resident Janet Riggs, a volunteer for the Democratic Central Committee here, said she’s eager to participate in the mock caucus – but the real pay-off is still on the horizon.

“I think people are becoming much, much more interested, and when candidates start coming to town I think everybody – from all backgrounds – is going to get involved in the system,” she said.

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at apridgen@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.