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Democrats go digital in organizing with social distancing reality

The Nevada State Democratic Party laid out a blueprint Monday for how it plans to campaign in an era of social distancing, as its staff and volunteers transition into a digital-only organizing strategy.

Staff members are working from home. Volunteers are being corralled for the party’s first all-digital day of action, which will include calling and texting voters. Traditionally in-person training sessions and gatherings are being transitioned to Zoom and Google Hangouts.

“We are ramping up and building on a successful caucus,” Executive Director Alana Mounce said in an interview. “It set us up for success. There are now thousands of volunteers and more than 100,000 Democrats who participated that we can now follow up with.”

Mounce stressed that while some logistics are changing, the goal remains the same: building an active Nevada electorate to reject President Donald Trump in November, as the state did in 2016. Organizers have been on the ground since last spring and are now ramping up their efforts with a roster of active Democrats provided by the various presidential campaigns who participated in the caucus.

“They gave us a list of over 100,000 people, and we’re working to follow up (with the voters),” Mounce said. “Every caucusgoer is a volunteer leader for the Democrats. They showed up, and we can use our organization to defeat Donald Trump in November.”

In addition to the voter roster, the Democrats recruited some 3,000 volunteers for caucus day, which Mounce said gives her party an organizing advantage over the state Republicans, who endorsed Trump without a caucus.

Party spokeswoman Molly Forgey added that Democratic voter ranks were swelled during last month’s caucus by 17,000 new party registrations. She also stressed that about 15 presidential campaigns organized in Nevada over the last year, building momentum that can be used by the party to support the eventual Democratic nominee.

Democrats also hold a clear registration advantage over Republicans as of Feb. 29: 611,355 active voters statewide to 524,652 for the GOP.

The state party is actively growing its staff of more than 30 with help from an investment from the Democratic National Committee, Mounce said.

It is also working to adapt its more playful staff and volunteer events, such as regular “Happy Hours,” where staff discussions include an optional drink, and its quarterly “Local Brews and National Views” meetings.

Last week, the Trump Victory Campaign shared the specifics of its transition to digital-only operations: 100,000 Nevada voter contacts during its first monthly digital day of action, 250,000 contacts within the state overall and more than 30 staff members on the ground.

The Trump campaign made a similar transition to things like Zoom training sessions and Google Hangout staff meetings several weeks ago.

Trump Victory Nevada spokesman Keith Schipper rejected the notion that Democrats have any sort of organizing advantage in Nevada, saying the president’s operation has been on the ground in the Silver State since 2016 and made its digital transition due to novel coronavirus prevention measures in just 24 hours.

“Nevada Democrats are just now joining us in the field and are scrambling to copy our digital field operation,” he said in a statement Monday. “Good luck catching up.”

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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