Nevada may be a small state, but it has a big impact when it comes to nominating candidates for president of the United States.
Nevada comes in third on the calendar, right after Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus and New Hampshire’s storied primary election. So, with only six electoral votes, Nevada could otherwise get lost in the mix.
But thanks to former Sen. Harry Reid — Nevada’s Democratic Caucus vaulted to a much higher place on the calendar, and it all started in 2008.
Since then, Nevada has seen more than its fair share of presidential candidates, including Republicans. The GOP tries to schedule its caucus early on the calendar as well.
Reid persuaded the Democratic party in part by arguing Nevada’s diversity and geography. The state has a larger minority population than either Iowa or New Hampshire, and Nevada is the first state in the western United States to hold a nominating contest.
It’s also a strong union labor state, which is a key Democratic constituency.
The fact that Nevada uses a caucus also factored into the decision because the first four states are divided evenly among those that use primary elections and those that employ caucuses.
Regardless of the reasons, the early position draws candidates hoping for an early boost in the process. And sometimes, it draws hopefuls who haven’t even entered the race, but who are only too happy to cater to the state’s residents.
On Saturday, for example, Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown spoke to the Culinary Union, promising to help workers in their fight to organize Station Casinos.
“It doesn’t matter to me who else is in the race,” Brown said. “If it’s Biden, if it’s Sanders if it’s anybody else — it’s a personal decision. If I get in this race, I’ll be the most pro-worker candidate in the group, and I will know how to stand up to this president of the United States — President Trump, who betrays workers every day.”
Several of the democratic party’s top candidates have chosen to visit Nevada, shortly after their announcements. Last weekend Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to supporters at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, and on Sunday, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker spoke to supporters at Nevada Partners in North Las Vegas. Both politicians gave Nevada its props.
“Let me just start by saying how terrific it is to be with the people who turned Nevada’s red to blue, ” Sen. Warren said. “It really is exciting. Nevada’s an exciting place right now because you show the rest of the nation what our future can look like; folks who get out there and who fight.”
“It is critical. It’s central to our strategy. This is an early primary state; it’s a state that really reflects the grand diversity of our country, and we plan to come here and compete hard,” Sen. Booker said. “I’m going to do everything I can to get around the state as much as I can; connect with folks, earn their respect and, god willing, their vote.”
The visits will continue in Nevada this week when California Senator Kamala Harris is scheduled to be in Las Vegas, to speak at the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit and to hold a town hall at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas.