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Despite grim report, Nevada GOP confident in Trump for November

Updated July 7, 2020 - 7:19 pm

WASHINGTON — Politico’s Election Forecast moved Nevada — as well as Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania — from toss-up states to the “Lean Democratic” column, predicting a more difficult path to re-election for President Donald Trump.

“Nevada hasn’t voted as Democratic as its diversifying population would suggest, but Joe Biden still holds the advantage there,” Politico explained, as the news organization declared Trump “an underdog to win a second term.”

Nationally, the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Biden with an 8.7-percentage-point lead.

Hillary Clinton snagged the Silver State’s six electoral college votes in 2016 with a 2.42-percentage-point edge over Trump, but the president and his campaign team have made known their hope that the GOP could claim Nevada in 2020 — even after a blue wave claimed every statewide office except for secretary of state in 2018.

“In 2016, President Trump lost Nevada by 2.4 percent. (2012 GOP nominee Mitt) Romney lost by 7.6 percent and (the late Arizona Sen. John) McCain lost NV by 12.4 percent. President Trump closed the margin significantly in Nevada and had the best Republican result since (President George W.) Bush in 2004,” said Trump campaign Director of Press Communications Erin Perrine. Bush won Nevada by 2.6 percent in 2004.

Perrine also boasted of the GOP’s “incredibly aggressive ground game” in Nevada.

At the same time, “There is such an unknown factor that’s in play,” said longtime Republican political consultant Sig Rogich.

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Las Vegas has experienced one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, a recent spike in coronavirus cases and a scary rise in hospitalizations, although Nevada on Monday experienced its first day-over-day decline in hospitalizations cases since June.

The Nevada State Democratic Party enjoys a comfortable registration edge with 624,673 Democrats on the state’s voter rolls, compared with 530,000 Republican and 367,345 nonpartisan voters as of last month. Currently, there are 480,947 active registered Democrats in Clark County, 326,709 Republicans and 270,681 nonpartisans.

A June memo written by Nevada Democrats’ coordinated campaign director Shelby Wiltz noted, “Among registered voters in Clark County, Republicans are now comparable to a third party.” Wiltz described Nevada Democrats’ position as the strongest the party has seen heading into a general election.

“I still think he’s going to win” Nevada, GOP activist and Trump supporter Chuck Muth told the Review-Journal, as he predicted unemployment and coronavirus cases would improve dramatically before November.

If Trump does bring the economy roaring back, Rogich noted, Trump will “get credit for it. People remember what happens at the end of something.” The same rule would apply for the pandemic.

Rogich, who lives in Las Vegas, also sees Trump’s chances being better than they may have appeared a year ago because, through no fault of its own, the Culinary Union doesn’t have the clout it had before COVID-19 ravaged employment on the Strip.

Once again the dean of the Nevada congressional delegation, Democrat Rep. Dina Titus predicted Trump’s defeat in Nevada.

“Nevadans have seen that President Trump doesn’t have the empathy or attention span to contain the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” Titus said.

“Joe Biden knows this state well and he understands that we can’t take a single vote for granted,” Titus added. “The team already on the ground here is impressive and they will benefit from having a candidate at the top of the ticket who cares about working people and Western issues.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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