Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nevada GOP hasn’t kicked into caucus mode — yet

Via Anjeanette Damon of The Las Vegas Sun.

FHQ will let Damon's piece speak for itself, but I would like to add to it an observation and question about the Nevada caucuses in 2012 in general. Things have been awfully quiet from the Silver state as the other early states -- Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- have objected to threats to their positions from Florida and Arizona. This has given me pause. Is the Nevada Republican Party willing to follow the other three early states into early January or into 2011 if forced?

Damon doesn't necessarily paint a positive picture on that front:

As one Nevada operative put it, the Silver State has emerged as an “ugly stepchild” of sorts in the presidential primary so far, with the traditional early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina hogging all spotlight. Nevada is scheduled to hold the third primary contest next year after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Compared with Democrats’ caucuses four years ago, Republicans are far behind in fundraising, voter outreach, campaign visits, staffing and party organization — a signal that the GOP caucuses could be a bust.

Working against Nevada Republicans is the absence of a Harry Reid-like figure drawing national attention and donations to the state, a major factor in Democrats’ success four years ago. They also don’t have a built-in organizing force such as labor unions, which also drove caucus attendance for Democrats four years ago.

And although the party is looking to contract with a firm that has experience organizing the Iowa caucuses, it has yet to hire a caucus director or raise enough money to hire such a firm.

“No one wants to go through another 2008 — where we have no idea what we’re doing and hoping the guy we brought in does, but turns out not to really have the bravado to pull it off,” said one Republican operative who worked the caucuses four years ago.

Given even less time, it isn't clear that the Nevada GOP could get its act together in time for caucuses any earlier than February 18, much less if the state was forced to consider January or 2011. In fact, on its face, Nevada would potentially be forced to just stick with its February 18 date; potentially yielding its first-in-the-west position to Arizona.

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