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Nevada: More Bad News for Edwards

Less than a week after former Sen. John Edwards' (D-N.C.) campaign acknowledged it was moving some staff out of Nevada and into other early primary states, a key staffer in the state has left his post.

Preston Elliott, who had been serving as Edwards' field director in Nevada, is leaving that post to become the deputy political director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to an e-mail forwarded to The Fix.

The departure is sure to stoke rumors that Edwards is not seriously contesting the Nevada caucus, which was added to the early nominating calendar in 2006 by the Democratic National Committee.

Edwards' campaign continues to deny that the staff reshuffling in Nevada should be read as an indicator of how seriously he will play in the state.

"We're strongly committed to Nevada, we've visited the state more than any other candidate, and we know that our good relationships with labor and our message of bold change puts us in a great position to win there," said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the campaign.

But, the loss of Elliott is a blow -- symbolic or not -- to Edwards' campaign in Nevada. The questions surrounding Edwards' viability in Nevada represent a marked change from earlier in the year when it appeared as though Nevada would be a stronghold for the former Senator due to his relentless courting of organized labor.

Elliott, a Montana native, is experienced political hand, having done field work on Senate races in Alaska in 2004 and Montana in 2006.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 20, 2007; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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