What About Nevada?
By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 18, 2008 8:35PM
Now that the Michigan primary is safely behind us, all eyes are focused on Nevada and South Carolina. For Democrats, who need at least 2,025 delegates to win the presidential nomination, Nevada's caucuses this Saturday offer 33 delegates. Not only is the nation looking at the Silver State, where early voting is a new experience for a mix of Latino, rural and urban voters, but so are the federal courts. Hillary Clinton has been polling well there, but Barack Obama has been endorsed by the state's largest union, the Culinary Workers. This endorsement is significant not only because it is the largest union in the state, but also because the state's Democratic party has opted to hold nine "at-large" caucuses, open to anyone within 2.5 miles of the Las Vegas strip, where the bulk of CWU members work. Intended to make voting easier for shift-workers in Nevada's casino industry, the move prompted a lawsuit by the Nevada Teachers Union. The lawsuit claimed that those voting in at-large precincts being held on the Strip would have too much weight compared with those voting at their polling places, infringes on the right to equal protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and violate state statute in the way they were drawn.
U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan dismissed the suit yesterday, saying "we aren't voting here, we're caucusing," and that it is "up to the national party and the state party to promulgate these rules and enforce them." The conventional wisdom is that this ruling is good news for the Obama campaign.
Republicans, with the exception of Mitt Romney, have largely left Nevada alone, focusing instead on South Carolina, where voters will give one of the candidates 24 delegates to the convention. Polls suggest that Mike Huckabee could do well among the evangelical base there, and a win Saturday could potentially reenergize his campaign after losing New Hampshire and Michigan.
With no clear front runner in the primaries and this year's polls notoriously hard to interpret, Saturday's contests are anyone's guess.
Image via Pilou@ttitude