52°F
weather icon Light Rain

Democrats, Republicans ramp up caucus planning

The early steps toward next year’s Nevada caucuses are small and simple.

About 40 Democrats gathered at a community recreation center in Las Vegas on Thursday to plan and learn more, 100 days in advance of their party’s Feb. 20 caucus to decide who should win the nomination for president.

The Republican caucus will follow on Feb. 23.

Nevada’s caucuses are high-stakes affairs for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, for whom it will be their first election test among western states.

Both parties hope to use the event to energize their bases and boost registration for the November 2016 election.

And the push to mobilize volunteers, register voters and educate people about how the caucus process works has ramifications beyond helping nominate a president. They are eyeing other races too, including the one for the open U.S. Senate seat of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The most prominent candidates so far to jump into that race include U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat.

“Winning this seat is important for the Democrats to take back the majority in the United States Senate, a majority that is going to decide who sits on our United States Supreme Court for decades to come,” Cortez Masto told the audience at Thursday night’s meeting, thanking them for their hard work.

The group then held a “mock caucus,” learning how the process works by gathering around images of Muppet characters — Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy among them — who took the place of the real candidates to keep things neutral. Similar events are planned for the future.

Hilary Barrett, the Nevada Democrats’ deputy training director for the caucuses, said the process is easy to learn.

There are more than 2,000 precincts in Nevada, and each one gets a precinct chairman to shepherd the caucus process. It’s not like traditional voting, which is overseen by county elections officials and happens in the privacy of a voting booth. Instead, it’s a town hall structure organized by state party officials, where supporters group together to openly back their candidate.

Republicans have started planning too, work that includes registering voters and organizing leaders and logistics.

Greg Bailor, caucus director for the Nevada Republican Party, said all the county organizations will need to submit caucus locations and their own volunteer precinct chairman names to the party by Christmas.

Republicans also are looking forward to the buzz that will come when Republican candidates debate on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas.

Democratic presidential candidates debated in Las Vegas in October.

— Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]

EXECUTIVE TRAVEL: Forget Strip flash; some prefer lake’s panache

If you get called to a board meeting at Lake Las Vegas, you might want to bring your swimsuit. That’s the term Westin at Lake Las Vegas marketing director Matt Boland uses for upright paddleboard races, one of many team-building exercises offered regularly at the resort.

After $4,700 in live poker career winnings, James Romero, 27, wins nearly $2 million

It was a 15-year celebration of The World Poker Tour at Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The largest field size in WPT Five Diamond’s history was created when 791 entries were tallied, and it was James Romero, 27, of Portland, Oregon, who won his first WPT title.

Auto electronics at SEMA and AAPEX: A brave new world

The Specialty Equipment Market Association celebrated its 50th annual SEMA show at Las Vegas Convention Center this month by showcasing a car culture of “do-it-yourself” garage mechanics who share a passion for customizing vehicles.