TURN LEFT AT RENO

RENO — When University of Nevada, Reno, freshman Joe O’Gorman registered to vote for the first time this year, he broke from his family’s Republican tradition and registered Democrat so he could vote for Barack Obama for president.

“The Democratic view is of people standing together, not the rich above the poor like the Republicans,” said 18-year-old O’Gorman as he and two newly registered Democratic friends wandered around the arboretum at Reno’s Rancho San Rafael Park. “Everybody in Reno last election supported Bush. Now you drive around town, and you see more Obama signs than McCain signs.”

“A lot of people have moved here from the Bay Area,” said 61-year-old Samuel Knipmeyer as he exited from a rose garden. “We have a lot of businesses with problems. Obama will win here, and he will win in Nevada and become president.”

The winds of change have been blowing in Reno and Washoe County. For the first time in 30 years, Democrats now are the majority party in the state’s northern population center.

Of 12 people interviewed at Rancho San Rafael, not one said they were voting for Republican John McCain for president.

At the close of registration for the general election, Democrats had 92,203 registered voters in Nevada’s second most populous county, compared with 90,917 Republicans. That’s an advantage of nearly 1,300 voters.

Two years ago, there were 16,510 more Republicans than Democrats in Washoe County.

That the area was rabid Republican showed in the November 2006 election, when Washoe voters chose Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons over Democrat Dina Titus by a vote of 63,057 to 47,296.

Obama’s campaign has been out registering people for months, particularly younger voters, while the Republicans have made only a scant registration effort, according the Amy Curtis-Webber, the Washoe County Democratic Party executive director.

She said Obama enthusiasts also have been touting the convenience of early voting to students and others. UNR students can vote in the student union on campus.

“We are seeing a pendulum swing that occurs every 20 years or so when the party in power declines,” Curtis-Webber said.

“People aren’t happy with the economic situation. They aren’t happy with the war. They don’t see McCain as being on their side.”

Fred Lokken, a Republican who teaches political science at Truckee Meadows Community College, sees the same thing. He said it is hard to find students in his classes who support McCain.

“Here you have someone 72 and someone in his mid- 40s running,” he said, noting Obama’s relative youth. “Who is someone 18 or 19 more likely to connect with?”

For young people today, Barack Obama has the same aura as John Kennedy had in the 1960 presidential race, Lokken said.

But the Republican Party in Nevada also has not done a good job registering voters, Lokken said.

“Where the hell were the Republicans this year?” he asked. “The Republican Party in this state seems to have given up, while the Democrat Party is doing what a party is supposed to do. They also were flush with money.”

Troy Melin, the president of UNR Student Democrats, said students are registering Democratic because Obama has caught their imagination.

“He has energized students more than any other candidate since Bill Clinton,” Melin said. “This year is going to be different. This is the most important election my generation has seen.”

Heidi Smith, the Republican Party chairwoman in Washoe County, attributes the surge of Democratic registration to the influx of people to Reno from the traditionally liberal Bay Area. She said 49,000 Bay Area transplants have arrived in the Reno area in the last six years.

“I looked at the demographics, and I knew this was going to happen,” Smith said. “Our job is to get out the Republican vote.”

Smith said Republicans traditionally have turned out to vote on Election Day in higher percentages than Democrats, particularly younger Democrats. Early voting results, however, show nearly twice as many Washoe County Democrats as Republicans have voted so far.

Smith contends the vast majority of UNR professors are leftists, and some students fear mentioning aloud that they favor McCain.

“I have a kid who works here who has an Obama sticker on her car,” she said. “She says that is the only way to do it at UNR or your car could be vandalized.”

That said, Smith concedes the Democrats have a well-funded organization that has beaten the GOP in new registrations.

Although Obama may be picking up voters in Washoe County, Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert does not think it will affect Republicans farther down the ballot.

“All politics is local,” said Gansert, R-Reno. “The races that are closer to the people — the local races, the congressional race — in these people will judge the candidate, not the party.”

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel @reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like