Presidential candidates to greet public at Appeal | NevadaAppeal.com

Presidential candidates to greet public at Appeal

BRENDAN RILEY
Associated Press Writer

There’s so much interest in next week’s forum for Democratic presidential candidates in Nevada’s capital city that another candidate event has been added, the state Democratic Party said Tuesday.

The main event at the local community center, scheduled for Feb. 21, is sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Nevada Democratic Party.

The state party set up the second event, to be held at the local Nevada Appeal newspaper office.

“AFSME distributed (community center) tickets largely to its members,” state Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said. “We had a huge amount of interest from Democrats around the state, so we decided to find an overflow room.”

Searer said a large room at the Appeal, which can hold about 400 people, will be set up with a live, televised feed from the community center, which can seat several hundred people. The candidates have been invited to “say hello” to the crowd in the Appeal room, she added.

“We’re giving priority to people from Carson City and Douglas County and nearby because this is the forum that’s in their area,” Searer said. “There will be several other opportunities for people in Las Vegas and elsewhere to see the candidates.”

A similar event is scheduled March 24 in Las Vegas. Another one is planned for August in Reno, although no date has been set yet.

“This is why we wanted to host the Democratic caucus,” Searer said. “We have an overwhelming response from counties where registration is heavily Republican. That’s exactly what we wanted – interest from people who might normally not get involved in politics.”

For the first time, Nevada’s presidential caucus will be held on Jan. 19, between Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus and the New Hampshire primary in early 2008.

Seven announced or expected Democratic candidates, including front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have told organizers they will participate in the Carson City forum.

It’s the first such candidates forum of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Sen. Barack Obama is skipping the forum.

He’s scheduled to be in Southern Nevada Sunday, but couldn’t work the Northern Nevada event into his itinerary, campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer has said.

Besides Clinton, a senator from New York, other Democrats who have confirmed their participation are former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.