Nevada does not have a long
early caucuses in the presidential nominating process, and there are
efforts in the legislature to change the caucus system to a primary
The early Nevada
caucuses originated with the
Democratic National Committee, which was seeking to diversify the
beginning of its nominating process; Sen. Harry Reid played a key
role in promoting the early caucus. On Aug. 19, 2006 at
meeting in Chicago the full DNC voted to add the Nevada caucuses to the
pre-window period; the date was set for January 19, 2008. Nevada
Republicans, not wanting to be left on the sidelines, approved a move
January 19 in a near unanimous vote during their
April 21, 2007 meeting in Carson City. In 2012, Republicans and
Democrats again held early caucuses, but,
President Obama was unchallenged for re-election and all the focus was
on the Republican side.
Heading into 2016, some Republicans sought to change the caucus
system to a primary election. On May 12, 2015 the state Senate
421, which would have changed the primary date from June to the
Tuesday in February, by a party line vote of 11 to 9. A.B.
302, introduced on March 13, 2015, would have allowed political
hold a presidential primary election, with the cost to be borne by the
state. However the Legislature failed to act before it adjourned
on June 2.
The Silver State
With a population of 2.8
of the fastest growing states, but the economy was
very hard hit by collapse of the housing bubble. As of Nov. 2015
Nevada had the fourth highest foreclosure rate of the 50 states (+).
just West Virginia, DC and New Mexico, but down from a high of 13.9% in
2010. Tourism and
gambling industry are cornerstones of the Nevada economy. Other
include water and
immigration. Second Amendment rights are important in the
1,188,410 active registered
voters as of August 2014, 476,263
(40.07%) were Democrats, 413,193 (34.77%) Republicans, 224,058
(18.85%) non-partisan, and the rest other parties. Obama
carried the state by 52.4% to 45.7% in 2012 and by 55.2% to 42.7% in
2008; Bush won in 2004 and 2000, and Clinton in 1996 and 1992.
and Reno account for much
of the voting population; for example, of the 1,016,664 votes cast
the Nov. 6, 2012 general election, 68.1% came
from Clark County and 18.5% from Washoe County. The Census Bureau
estimates the Hispanic or Latino population at 27.5% as of July 1, 2013
(over 767,000). Analysis by the
William C. Velazquez
in its population of any state: 225,933 veterans were living in Nevada
as of Sept. 30, 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans
Nevada Democrats had a significant head start in preparing for their caucuses and there was much more activity on their side. 117,599 Democrats participated in the Democratic precinct caucuses, double the numbers predicted, and Sen. Hillary Clinton edged out a win over Sen. Barack Obama by 50.8% to 45.0% (>). Only 43,578 Republicans participated in the GOP precinct caucuses, delivering a solid win to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; he obtained 51% of the vote to 13% each for Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. John McCain. Many observers attributed Romney's win to high turnout among Mormons (>).
In 2012 the two parties diverged on the dates (1, 2, 3); Democrats held non-competitive caucuses on Jan. 21. President Obama was unchallenged, but more than 12,000 people gathered at 118 caucus locations and 1,553 precincts (>). Nevada Republicans held their precinct caucuses on Feb. 4, making it the fourth GOP contest after the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
From the beginning Mitt Romney was considered the
favorite in Nevada; he had won the 2008 caucuses and it was
expected he would benefit from the state's high Mormon
population. Ron Paul achieved one of his
better showings in 2008 here, and his campaign built a strong
organization for 2012. Rick Perry had
the support of Gov. Brian Sandoval, but he bowed out before the South
Despite all the preparations there were rough
spots in these second ever Republican presidential caucuses. Each
county opted to set its
own rules (>).
had missed their scheduled caucus
because of reasons of faith, but others who had missed their morning
caucus signed and participated as well. And, despite the Nevada
Republican Party's partnership with
Twitter and Google "to implement new and innovative methods of
election results" certified results were not announced until the
morning of February 6. Further,
turnout was down
from 2008. Just 32,894
people participated in the Feb. 4 Nevada Republican caucuses; to put
that in perspective, as of January
2012 there were 400,310
active registered Republicans in Nevada.
In comparison to 2010, the equivalent point in the
2012 cycle, Nevada is experiencing a relatively calm mid-term elections
in 2014. Recall that in 2010, Nevada saw the most hotly contested
Senate race in the country as Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D)
defeated former Assemblywoman Sharron
Angle (R) despite his unpopularity. In the race for governor,
former federal Judge
(R) defeated Clark County Commission Chair Rory
Reid (D), and in the 3rd CD Dr. Joe Heck (R) defeated freshman
Dina Titus (D). 2014 is a decidedly different
story. Gov. Sandoval appears certain to win re-election; the
Democratic nominee for governor, Bob Goodman, finished second to "None
of These Candidates" in the June primary. The congressional
delegation is split evenly. U.S. Reps. Joe
Heck (R-3rd CD) and Mark
Amodei (R-2nd CD) and Dina Titus (D-1st CD) and Steven Horsford (D-4th
CD) are favored to win re-election. Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D) and
Sen. Dean Heller (R) are not up for re-election. Control of the
will be hotly contested; as of Sept. 2014 Democrats hold an 11 to 10
majority. Democrats have a solid 26 to 15 majority in the
Assembly (and there is one vacancy).
Also of note in 2014, Las Vegas made a strong bid to
2016 Republican National Convention, arguing that
knows how to host an event
of this scale and
do it better than anyone else." However organizers withdrew
their bid in May (1, 2).
As they built their caucus campaigns, candidates of both parties
appealed to various constituencies around the state, such as the large
veteran population, Latinos, rural
voters, and workers on the Las Vegas strip. Republicans
candidates reached out to social
and to more libertarian-minded voters. Nevada has long had a
libertarian reputation (although in Nov. 2012 Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist
Steve Sebelius pointed pointed out that other states are moving ahead
of Nevada in areas such as legalizing gay marriage and marijuana >).
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union
Local 165, which represent "over 57,000 workers in Las
Vegas and Reno, including at most of casino resorts on the Las Vegas
Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas." The Culinary Workers remained
neutral, but veteran political reporter Jon Ralston argues that U.S.
Sen. Harry Reid and the union gave a key boost to Clinton in Clark
Nevada was the third contest for Democrats after Iowa
and New Hampshire (+); the
Nevada Democratic caucuses took place Saturday, February 20,
ahead of the February 27 South Carolina
Democratic primary. For Republicans, South Carolina's traditional
early primary took precedence. The Republican caucuses occurred
on Tuesday, February 23, three days after the February 20 South
Carolina Republican primary. Both parties had experienced
operatives working to organize their caucuses: Greg Bailor was caucus
director for the Republicans and Cory Warfield was caucus
for the Democrats; both started in June 2015 (+).
DNC rules specify specific dates for the four
early states, including Feb. 18, 2016 for Nevada, while
RNC rules have a general carve-out period that
covers the four early states.
However, state law, cited above, trumps the
other states move up their primary dates and encroach on the window,
Secretary of State Bill Gardner will move its date forward.
DNC Rule 11 - "...Provided, however, that the
precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 29 days before the first
Tuesday in March; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier
than 21 days before the first Tuesday in March; that the Nevada
first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 10 days before the
first Tuesday in March; and that the South Carolina primary may be held
no earlier than 3 days before the first Tuesday in March..."
RNC Rule 16 (4) (c) (1) - "No primary, caucus, convention, or other process to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to March 1 or after the second Saturday in June in the year in which a national convention is held. Except Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may conduct their processes no earlier than one month before the next earliest state in the year in which a national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (c)(2) of this rule."