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Insider Interview: Is Nevada Ready for Presidential Primetime?

Jon Ralston is already an institution in Nevada politics. In 2008, he just might become one nationally.

Ralston is the political reporter in Nevada, and his state is very likely to play a special role in the 2008 presidential campaign, as the Democratic Party may schedule the Silver State's caucuses to fall in the week between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

If Nevada's caucus date is moved up, Ralston will join two other reporters -- David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register and John DiStaso of the Manchester Union Leader -- as holding a very special vantage point when it comes to covering the 2008 nominating contest.

"I look at it very selfishly," said Ralston when discussing the possibility that Nevada's caucus will be moved into the first weeks of the primary campaign. "I want it to happen because I think it's good for me."

Ralston, like a true political junkie, has already spent considerable time analyzing what a Democratic candidate would need to do to win Nevada, a state that he says is really three states in one -- Las Vegas (Clark County), Reno (Washoe County) and rural Nevada. Las Vegas dominates the state's politics; its rapid growth won the state an extra seat in the House after the 2000 census. Democrats have to do very well in Clark County to win statewide, but in recent competitive general elections Democratic candidates have often come up short because of the party's struggles with more conservative-minded voters in the rest of the state, according to Ralston.

If Las Vegas is the heart of Nevada's Democratic politics, then the Culinary Workers Union is the biggest "get" in a hypothetical Nevada presidential caucus, Ralston said, noting its large membership (40,000 plus) and political acuity. "No other group comes close to it," he said. If there is a second most powerful union, it is the Nevada State Education Association -- though its influence has been reduced in recent years because "their leadership has been in disarray," said Ralston.

The considerable Hispanic population in the state -- 20 percent according to the 2000 Census -- makes the state attractive to Democrats hoping to reach this emerging voting bloc. However, Ralston said the influence of this group may be overstated since many Hispanics are not registered to vote, and among those who are there is little conformity or unity of purpose.

Ralston should know. After receiving a masters degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, he was paging through Editor & Publisher magazine and saw an ad for a night police beat reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Ralston took the job on a lark, planning to spend a few years in Sin City before moving back to the East Coast (he is a native of Buffalo, N.Y.) to work for a big-name newspapers.

Within two years Ralston was a political reporter for the R-J and by 1988 (at age 29) he was writing a political column for the paper. In 1992 Ralston, who readily admits to being easily bored, started his own statewide political newsletter -- The Ralston Report. Seven years later, he was approached by the rival newspaper -- the Las Vegas Sun -- after the media outlet commissioned a poll by GOP pollster Frank Luntz that showed the Sun's political coverage needed a major shot in the arm.

Ralston set out a list of demands, which included taking his newsletter electronic and hosting his own television show -- all of which were met. He sold the Ralston Report to the Sun in late 1999. (Three years later Ralston was in Washington, D.C., when he ran into Luntz on the street. "Are you ever going to thank me for getting you a job?" Luntz asked.)

Thus the growth of the one-man media conglomerate that is Jon Ralston. He has resisted entreaties to move from Vegas for a number of reasons that range from the personal (he is divorced and has joint custody of his daughter) to the professional ("It's kind of nice being a big fish in a small pond"), but in the end it's the uniqueness of the state's politics that keep him rooted in the desert.

"Even though it's the fastest-growing city in the fastest-growing state in the country, power has not diffused concomitantly," Ralston said when asked what makes Nevada politics distinct. "We still have a set group of people who control everything [politically]." That group includes consultant Sig Rogich, gaming executive Mike Sloan, advertising executives Billy Vassiliadis, a Democrat, and Pete Ernaut, a Republican.

Gov. Kenny Guinn (R), who is finishing up his second term this year, is a perfect example of the power of this group, said Ralston. Guinn had never run for public office before his gubernatorial campaign in 1998, but he coasted in the primary and general election thanks to the unified support of this political posse, he said. Ralston wrote a book in 2000 titled "The Anointed One" detailing Guinn's rise and the nature of Nevada politics.

Ralston's other fascination when it comes to Nevada politics is Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, whom he describes as someone "almost without charisma" and simultaneously praises for the senator's "unbelievably ruthless, brilliant and Machiavellian mind vis a vis politics."

Ralston says that Reid remains essentially the same person he met in 1986 -- a master of the behind the scenes master stroke. Witness Reid's recommendation of state Attorney General Brian Sandoval for the federal bench. Reid's stroke not only opened up the attorney general's office -- a position Democrats are favored to win this fall -- but also eliminated Sandoval as a potential challenger in 2010 when Reid is expected to run for a fourth term.

Not every gambit by Reid is so successful. His backing of Dario Herrera in the state's 3rd District in 2002 backfired miserably as Herrera's campaign collapsed from the combined weight of a series of scandals. Herrera was convicted last month on multiple charges of public corruption.

It's all part of the circus for Ralston, who clearly relishes covering the state's salacious and -- dare we say it -- sexy politics. "It's nice to live in a dynamic environment where I'm not bored," he says in a feat of understatement.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 19, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Insider Interview  
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Comments

best pick for governor?
http://www.mimi4governor.com
blog: http://mimimiyagi.blogspot.com
e-mail:
mimi@mimi4governor.com

she's the solution, not the problem, and who better for a state with "sin city" to attract those asian investors....

Posted by: david roach | July 17, 2006 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I was usual of NYT forums. But it banned me without any explanation. Be patient, please. I'm trying to left this drug.

Best wishes.

Posted by: What_crisis | June 24, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Be correct. Hide the truth breaking beleifs. Don't look for real causes but only effects. This is the better way to find no succesful answer. Why? Why? Why?

Best wishes.

Posted by: What_crisis | June 24, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Chris, concerning your take on the California 50th district. I have to think that it was Busby's election to loose. But, I have to disagree with you that it is a harbinger of the corruption argument being a no win topic for 2006. First, the Republicans nearly drowned the district in money. Second, Busby made several tactical errors. You can not run on a single issue, she misread the constituency of the district completely, and she made some real pronouncement gaffs. Fine, Cunningham was a crook and went to jail, but the smear does not work exactly the way she was trying to use it. Bilbray, had a political record, and it didn't include any corruption. The constituency was heavily anti-illegal alien and she attempted to ingratiate herself with the President's pro-alien policy and with sympathizers of an open boarder. She was also recorded telling a mainly Hispanic audience that you do not need to be legal to help her candidacy. Also, her posture and word choices just did not portray her as a strong candidate. She was just out matched, but still she got 45% of the vote in a heavily Republican district. That must mean something, right?

Posted by: Oren Ruggles | June 23, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

In the case of CA's 50th the incumbent was in jail. A shaky foundation for your "no silver bullet" or "corruption in government is ok with voters" theory.

Posted by: Tim Mooring | June 23, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The 50th district victory of Bilbray is being construd as only a victory achieved on Border Security issues. The Democratic candidate, although hard working etc. was a weak candidate in a predominently Republican district. She made several misstatements which contributed to her downfall. Republican talk shows repeatedly lambasted, berated and vilified her if she gave them an on air interview. Many of the 50th district Republicans are used to the power that Cunningham gave them and many feared loosing that power. Bilbray will align himself with the right wing of his party on immigration legislation (of which there probably won't be any.) To show how entrenched these rich are in the party of the rich, Bilbray moved to La Jolla from his residence in Virginia just for this election. He set up camp at his mother's home. The Republican committee to reelect their members to the H of Rep. also poured millions (twice what the Dem. spent) into the race and sponsored their usual lies and distorted adds about the Dem. The crazy thing about all this Rep. money is that this is the same money that Cunningham, Duncan Hunter, Tom Delay, and Jack Abramhof raised flying around the country in a jet leased to the Poway contractor that got all the gov't contracts from earmarks from that whole bunch. Also,reliable sources have verified that the Republicans who were running the voting places actually took the voting machines home with them the night before the election. This might make Diebold look like kindergartners. So you see it was not so much of the border issue as the usual way Rep. have been winning elections lately (?).

Posted by: coach88 | June 23, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The 50th district victory of Bilbray is being construd as only a victory achieved on Border Security issues. The Democratic candidate, although hard working etc. was a weak candidate in a predominently Republican district. She made several misstatements which contributed to her downfall. Republican talk shows repeatedly lambasted, berated and vilified her if she gave them an on air interview. Many of the 50th district Republicans are used to the power that Cunningham gave them and many feared loosing that power. Bilbray will align himself with the right wing of his party on immigration legislation (of which there probably won't be any.) To show how entrenched these rich are in the party of the rich, Bilbray moved to La Jolla from his residence in Virginia just for this election. He set up camp at his mother's home. The Republican committee to reelect their members to the H of Rep. also poured millions (twice what the Dem. spent) into the race and sponsored their usual lies and distorted adds about the Dem. The crazy thing about all this Rep. money is that this is the same money that Cunningham, Duncan Hunter, Tom Delay, and Jack Abramhof raised flying around the country in a jet leased to the Poway contractor that got all the gov't contracts from earmarks from that whole bunch. Also,reliable sources have verified that the Republicans who were running the voting places actually took the voting machines home with them the night before the election. This might make Diebold look like kindergartners. So you see it was not so much of the border issue as the usual way Rep. have been winning elections lately (?).

Posted by: coach88 | June 23, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The 50th district victory of Bilbray is being construd as only a victory achieved on Border Security issues. The Democratic candidate, although hard working etc. was a weak candidate in a predominently Republican district. She made several misstatements which contributed to her downfall. Republican talk shows repeatedly lambasted, berated and vilified her if she gave them an on air interview. Many of the 50th district Republicans are used to the power that Cunningham gave them and many feared loosing that power. Bilbray will align himself with the right wing of his party on immigration legislation (of which there probably won't be any.) To show how entrenched these rich are in the party of the rich, Bilbray moved to La Jolla from his residence in Virginia just for this election. He set up camp at his mother's home. The Republican committee to reelect their members to the H of Rep. also poured millions (twice what the Dem. spent) into the race and sponsored their usual lies and distorted adds about the Dem. The crazy thing about all this Rep. money is that this is the same money that Cunningham, Duncan Hunter, Tom Delay, and Jack Abramhof raised flying around the country in a jet leased to the Poway contractor that got all the gov't contracts from earmarks from that whole bunch. Also,reliable sources have verified that the Republicans who were running the voting places actually took the voting machines home with them the night before the election. This might make Diebold look like kindergartners. So you see it was not so much of the border issue as the usual way Rep. have been winning elections lately (?).

Posted by: coach88 | June 23, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

AZ is also set to gain another House seat or two in the next reapportionment.

A couple notes on Colorado: Let's not forget that Ben Campbell was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1992 and switched parties after the 1994 elections over a petty squabble with the state party. Before that, they had Sens. Tim Wirth (D) and Gary Hart (D). CO also had a Democratic Governor for quite some time, Romer, who headed the DNC for a while I believe. Furthermore, I think CO voted for Clinton in one or both of his elections. It has never been a hard red state, and I definitely think it's ripe for Democrats to pick in 2008. Bush only won there by 6 points in 2004, and that's with NO campaigning on Kerry's part. CO is really a swing state, as are NM and NV (AZ doesn't quite seem to be there yet).

The Supreme Court has ruled open primaries to be unconstitutional, and primary elections are strictly party affairs. You don't have a right to vote in one if you're not registered with a political party, and you don't have the right to vote in more than one primary at a time. RMill and I had a long discussion here a while back about this, but I'm for a rotating regional system of primaries.

Don't confuse bhoomes with the facts; he/she's a mere RNC mouthpiece who doesn't know the Constitution prescribes six year terms for senators. Shhh! Come on, bhoomes, go out to Nevada and campaign your heart out against Harry Reid this year! And in 2008! (On the one hand, bhoomes says Reid is out of touch with his constituents and bound to lose his next election. On the other hand, bhoomes turns around and says he's only a senator because people are afraid to cross him--as if ballots aren't secret in NV. I guess that explains his ~500 vote reelection in 1998? Facts are stupid things, indeed!)

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 19, 2006 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Chris, wasn't Reid first elected in 1986? Wouldn't his 2010 reelection bid be for a 5th term?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 19, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

My apologies if someone already pointed this out, but NV as the most quickly growing state in the nation is going to easily gain a 4th House seat--and thus 6th electoral vote--in the 2010 reapportionment. That won't affect the 2008 election, but it comes into play for 2012, 2016, and 2020.

http://sandwichrepair.blogspot.com/2006/06/next-reapportionment-bad-for-dems.html

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 19, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I think the wingnuts only claim that they were being inflammatory when someone calls them on their BS like what happened above.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 19, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Larry - I don't live in the West, but it wouldn't surprise me if the people moving to Nevada from California aren't the ones who voted for Proposition 13, and then complained about the deterioration in services ever since.

The casinos should be Heaven for them. They can almost the free lunch they live for there.

Also, in previous posts bhoomes has admitted that he intentionally goes over the top to stir the pot. It might help if he includes a disclaimer when he does that, because it's not always easy to tell.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 19, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Nevada seems like a good state to have inbetween Iowa and NH. I think it is small enough to not cost a lot of money and its a valid swing state. It will be interesting to see who the rural Nevadans want and who the urbanites in LV and Reno want. It would be good to make AR a state inbetween to. NH and Iowa should just get over it and be repalced if u ask me. They can make any law they want. I'm fine with primaries being on January 1st if thats what they want.

Posted by: aaron | June 19, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Nevada seems like a good state to have inbetween Iowa and NH. I think it is small enough to not cost a lot of money and its a valid swing state. It will be interesting to see who the rural Nevadans want and who the urbanites in LV and Reno want. It would be good to make AR a state inbetween to. NH and Iowa should just get over it and be repalced if u ask me. They can make any law they want. I'm fine with primaries being on January 1st if thats what they want.

Posted by: aaron | June 19, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

bhoomess is wrong, yet again. I live next to Nevada, know people there, keep up with things. Nevada is growing quickly. The two main attractions are no income tax, and sun. Many retirees, especially from California, are moving to Nevada. I know several. And people from the Pacific Northwest are moving down. If you have ever lived through a Pacific Northwest winter, you understand the lure of sun. But these people are used to the progressive and forward-looking governments of the west coast. They aren't dittoheads with their brains attached to radios. They want to keep the good government they know. Nevada will not turn into Ohio, or Louisiana.

And Nevada is not and never has been part of a puritanical bible belt. The misnamed and misreported "free tickets" affair will have little local effect. Harry Reid can be challenged, but he won't go down because of this "scandal." That's laughable.

Posted by: larry | June 19, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

If Nevada becomes a key state for the Dems, this may help Richardson's campaign. I must disagree that the Dems (or the GOP for that matter) would benefit from picking early primary/caucus states that are representative of the party. Both want states that are representative of the sort of states they need to win, not the ones they will win anyway. Not that long ago, NH was staunchly Republican and Iowa was solidly Democrat. People criticised their role in the nominating process because they were so unrepresentative of the country as a whole. Now, of course, they are both as purple as any state could be. They were two of the three that switched sides between 2000 and 2004. (Of course, if they keep moving in the directions they have been, they will soon be unrepresentative in the opposite direction).

Lilly is probably correct that the South West is the coming battleground area, though the MidWest will remain important for some time. Unless there are local factors (Giuliani for the Republicans or Warner for the Democrats) I am not sure that the North East or the South will be as important as in previous generations.

By the way, when was the last time the GOP had a winning ticket without at least one candidate from the South West on the ticket? It has to be pre-FDR. If Jack Kemp (born in California, but career mostly in NY) counts, even the losing tickets have had a South Westerner on all postwar occasions except 1976.

Quentin Langley
editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net

Posted by: Quentin Langley | June 19, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Why can't both parties agree to a weighted primary system (yes its sounds naive to ask both parties to agree), but I really think this would be good for democracy as a whole (maybe we need to get it thru Congress). I think ALL states should have open primaries and ALL states should have a fair shot at picking who will become president. We can create a 4 tier system based on electoral votes, with the least going first and the most going last. Yeah you will hear one interest group or the other say crap along the way (e.g. not enough "working people" (Code name Union power), not enough "people of faith" (Code name xtian fundamentalists), not enough "diversity" (code name: too many white people ) etc , but this completely missess the point that EVERYONE is voting to pick who they want. Of course it means you can only vote in one primary but at least it preps candidates for the general election and tests them to ensure they are eventually electable. It's cheaper and better..but to ask for something so simple and smart would be too much for this Congress eh?

Posted by: Kick Em | June 19, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

There are two problems I see with making CO the inbetween primary. First it is very large with a Major city in Denver. This means (as Rmill pointed out) that you need massive amounts of money to campaign there. This is the same problem in Nevada, NM, and AZ. Also I dont' think the Democrats should right off the south as a whole. Look at the results in Virginia and the probable governor pick-up in Arkansas in 2006 to show you that Democrats can WIN in the south.

That is why I like the idea of an Arkansas primary. No major media buy market, general purple make-up, and relativly small size. Plus you get exposure in LA, and Missouri.

Posted by: Andy R | June 19, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Bhoomes-

"How would I know if he has a thick file at Justice, I just made that up two serve two points, the 1st is a lot of people will believe it because he represents Nevada and 2nd why should only the left be allowed to make up nonsense."

Dishonesty is not the mark of a political party, it's the mark of dishonest people. As you've so palpably demonstrated, fantastic license with facts is bipartisan, even if you are not.

What baffles me is that you deride the "looney left" while admitting that the only thing distinguishing you from them is that you admit to being a liar. But if you're a confessed phoney then why expect us to give you high marks for being honest about dishonesty?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 19, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Please leave K. Kelly out of any rational decent discussion.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 19, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

How would I know if he has a thick file at Justice, I just made that up two serve two points, the 1st is a lot of people will believe it because he represents Nevada and 2nd why should only the left be allowed to make up nonsense. (ie: Ted Kennendy, Bush planned the war from his ranch for political reasons) Its all about oil. Kiity Kelly's nonsense book on the Bush's. At least I admit I made this up, the looney left never admits their fabrications.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 19, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

My grandmother has an FBI file. Thanks to the domestic surveilance program, we probably all do now.

Substantiate. Don't just throw out wild statements.

Reid has ties to Abramoff and his gaming clients to the tune of about $50,000 in campaign contributions. He then voted to raise the minimum wage in the Northern Mariana Islands, a position opposed by Abramoff clients.

He accepted credentials from the Nevada Boxing Commission, which he did not pay for but were not sellable items (no market value) which ethics lawyers say are legal. He then voted against the position of the state commission to create a federal boxing commission.

Any things else? Any substance?

Not a Reid apologist. I don't particularly care for him as Minority Leader and he has now twice caused "an appearance of a conflict of interest". But track down facts, news reports something instead of just pulling stuff out of thin air.

Posted by: RMill | June 19, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Apparently thick files don't necessarily lead to indictments. After three terms in the Senate I suspect if there was any real evidence of wrongdoing against Reid we would have heard about it by now. Personally I would rather have an intelligent politician who is lakcing in charisma (Reid) than an incompetent politician who has chrisma (Bush).

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 19, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

My thoughts on Colorado-

Before 2004 elections, CO had a repub Gov, both senators were repubs, state legislature was repub, and 5 of 7 House seats were repub.

In the '04 elections the state legislature switched control to democrats, and democrats picked up a senate seat and a House seat with the Salazar brothers. Bush only won the state by 4% (in 2000 he won it by 8%).

In the upcoming '06 elections, Democrats are favored to pick up the CO governor's office and the 7th Congressional District seat. In '08, repub Sen. Wayne Allard will either retire or run for relection against Dem. Rep. Mark Udall, and either way Udall will win the seat as Allard is unpopular and has a lot of skeletons in the closet, and Tom Tancredo is too conservative to win the senate race.

CO is the perfect example of the Dems' western strategy. NV, AZ and NM are all showing signs of trending bluer. One of the reasons Denver is one of the leading contenders for the Dem convention in '08 is b/c of the success Dems have been having out west and in CO in particular.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 19, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Well now that you ask! Sen Reid has a very thick file at the Justice Department for his known activities with the organzied mob in Las Vegas. This guy didn't get elected because of his charisma, it was people are afraid to cross him. I will now probaly have to go into the Witness Protection Program.

Posted by: bhoomess | June 19, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes on Harry Reid:

"Plus he is about as corrupt as you can get "

You got any evidence to back this up? Has Reid ever been indicted or convicted of a crime or unethical behavior? This seems like an unbelievably stupid and partsian statement given that there are literally hundreds of politicians in the country today who have been indicted and/or convicted.

Anyone else hear the news today that Bush is planning on pardoning Scooter libby after the midterm elections? Apparently the motive is to keep him from requesting more records from the White House, which would just shed light on all the laws they have been breaking up there.

Hmmmmm.....now that's just about as corrupt as you can get.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 19, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

AZ has a Dem governor and other statewide office holders. CO is definately purple. NV has been closely split in recent presidential races (2000, '04)

The influx of folks, as you claim, from CA, OR and WA must be bringing some of their progressive ideas with them. They are balancing out the core conservatives (especially in AZ and CO) not adding to their totals.

Posted by: RMill | June 19, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone figure out this bhoomes character -- I mean, can he read or not?. He seem to get some of the words, but the actual meaning of them seems to elude him.

If i talk about the importance of keeping corruption out of the Democratic party, he somehow hears that as excusing corruption.

Do you suppose it's brain damage from too much Limbaugh? What would you call it, Dittohead Syndrome?

Posted by: Drindl | June 19, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Picking larger states for early primaries and/or caucuses (or is it cauci?) would favor those candidates with the most money at the outset.

While New Hampshire or Iowa may not be "representative", they do afford candidates the opportunity for grass roots activity to make up for lack of funds.

Disrupting this model would be bad for democracy in my opinion.

Posted by: RMill | June 19, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree, JC, but the trouble is, New Hampshire will never let that happen. They'll do anything to preserve their first-in-the-nation status.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | June 19, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Steve, Nevada is getting more red everyday because of americans living in Ca. Or. and Wa. are seeking refuge in Nevada, CO. Ariz and New Mexico from the high taxes and mismanagement of dems screwing up the West Coast. Whenever Dirty Harry's term is up, he is a goner because he is out of touch with his new residents. Plus he is about as corrupt as you can get and only Drindl makes excuses for corruption in her party.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 19, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of which states go between Iowa and New Hampshire there should be actual elections and NOT caucuses. The turn out is much higher and represenative of voters. Because voter turn-out during a caucus is so low we are only seeing people from the far left and far right participating. One last note...caucusses are very difficult to organize (Iowa has done a great job over the years) but I wonder if other states would be able to pull it off as well.

Posted by: JC | June 19, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

New Mexico doesn't have enough people in it for it to be a good caucus state. But Arizona or Colorado would do the trick.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | June 19, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I too wouldn't recommend NV...though the GOP margin is the narrowest of the possible contenders save NM, its not as representative as AZ or CO. I think the fear among the dem leadership was the GOP margin in AZ was too big to reward them a preferred primary spot and CO fastest growing county is home to James Dobson and his Saducees. But nevertheless NV has a net negative reputation and frankly the sooner we get rid of the insiders game the better and cleaner our politics will be. Had it come to me, I'd have picked CO and AR to head off NH.

Posted by: Kick em | June 19, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, bhoomes, if you would have, I don't know, actually read the post, you would have seen that Harry Reid is up for re-election in 2010, not 2004.

I don't know if Nevada would be the best choice, I think that our best hopes for the future of the party are in the West rather than the South. It is the fastest-growing region of the country, and it is trending more Democratic over the years. I personally think that Arizona or New Mexico might be better, but we have to keep working because we are getting close to turning some western states blue.

Posted by: Steve | June 19, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think the Southwest is, without a doubt, THE battleground of the future. The region's clout will only grow after the 2010 census, and the Hispanic population will continue to soar, making a mix grab, especially as the South solidifes into a Republican stranglehold.

Colorado is getting more "purple" by the day and may be the key to any return to power by the Dems. AZ, NM and NV are all key as well.

I think this is a smart move by the Dems...if they actually do it.

Posted by: Greg-G | June 19, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Nevada is a brilliant pick for an earlier primary for the Democrats. To win, the party will have to do a better job competing with the Republicans for the vote of the uneducated (we have one of the highest high school dropout rates in the country) and for Hispanic voters so what better state to test a candidate for that than Nevada.

Posted by: Lilly | June 19, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I really wonder about the wisdom of Nevada too. It sems like too much of a wild card. But what is more troubling to me is that power is so concentrated in the hands of a few people, and those people involved mainly in the corruption-rife business of gambling. Not the direction the party should be going, or we will end up as corrupt as Republicans, god help us.

Posted by: Drindl | June 19, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Valid point, RCD . . . but, which state truly has the broad demographic you describe? Isn't every state ruled by particular lobbying interests?

Posted by: The Caped Composer | June 19, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

We Dems are going to continue to lose presidential elections unless we pick early primary states that are more representative of the Democratic Party. If they pick Nevada, we're basically just setting ourselves up for gambling interest to have a overwhelming seat at the table in picking who our nominee will be, just like how the Iowa corn growers do now. We need to pick a state with multiple organized political interests, so we have the most savvy, most informed most representative primary we can have, so we don't get stuck with who Las Vegas thinks should be president.

Posted by: RCD | June 19, 2006 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I believe good old Dirty Harry is up for reelection in 2008. I am looking forward to sending him into retirement just like we did to Dashle. Question is "Will Harry still get free front row boxing seats after he is out of office"?

Posted by: bhoomes | June 19, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

If Nevada truly emerges as a pivotal state in the '08 nominating process then for better o worse, Harry Reid may be a king maker. Or queen if he sides with Hillary. Memo to Harry: the blogs are watching so please don't annoint Hillary.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 19, 2006 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Nevada would be an interesting twist to the Democratic Primary. If they end up putting Nevada in I wonder how the citizens will react to being bombarded by politics for 6 months before the primary? NH and Iowa cherish the experience, but who knows about Sin City. However, it should help with gaining ground in Arizona which shares some of its TV zones with Vegas.

There is part of me that thinks the Democrats should focus on a southern State like Arkansas for their primary. It is a small market and a somewhat purple state that could go blue with the right attention.

Posted by: Andy R | June 19, 2006 7:54 AM | Report abuse

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