Palin to speak in Carson City

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is scheduled to campaign in Carson City on Saturday, the first visit to Nevada by John McCain's surprise running mate pick.

The Alaska governor is scheduled to speak at a public rally in the capital city's Mills Park at 5 p.m., according to the campaign.

McCain campaign spokesman Rick Gorka said the choice to have Palin visit Northern Nevada was an indication the campaign sees the area as a battleground as both McCain and Democrat Barack Obama try to capture Nevada's electoral votes.

National polls have shown a boost for McCain since last week's Republican convention and Palin's introduction to the nation. Locally, Gorka said, interest in the self-described "hockey mom" has energized the Republican campaign.

"We've seen an incredible increase in our volunteers" since she joined the ticket, he said. New volunteer signups, already at healthy levels, increased significantly, Gorka claimed. In August, a couple hundred volunteers signed up each week. Last week, Gorka said 1,200 people volunteered.

Palin, he said, has a perfect profile to appeal to Nevadans. "Like John McCain, she's a Westerner," he said. "She's independent, a maverick and a reformer, a fiscal conservative, and strong on the Second Amendment."

Gorka said the campaign expects 500 to 600 attendees at the Carson City rally.

The rally is open to members of the general public, who are asked to RSVP by e-mail to

Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball@ or 702-387-2919.