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December 22, 2007
Nevada Now an Obama-Clinton Battleground
There are only 25 convention delegates at stake in the January 19th Democratic Caucuses in Nevada out of 4051 total. But the fact that the contest occurs so soon after Iowa and New Hampshire tests and before the South Carolina (1/26 for the Democrats) and Florida (1/29) primaries, means that the winner can either claim to be on the comeback trail or crow about continued momentum.
For both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, that means flexing their organizational muscle in order to get Nevadans to the caucus sites. To that end, Barack Obama has begun to pour resources and staff into the state in an effort to match the Clinton machine:
— Illinois Sen. Barack Obama opened three new offices, two in the Las Vegas suburbs and one in Winnemucca, a tiny rural outpost. His campaign now has 10 offices here, more than twice the number of any other candidate. The campaign says this is a key sign of organizational strength heading into the Jan. 19 caucuses: More office space means more volunteers on more phone lines. All for 25 delegates and the momentum a victory in this tiny state would bring. This is the consequence of the front loaded primary season where the goal must be to win early and often. And if not, to right the ship as quickly as possible.
— Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have begun television advertising. David Bonior, campaign manager for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, said Edwards will be on television soon. Clinton is also advertising on Spanish language radio; Obama had been before taking his ads down, though his campaign says he’ll be back on the Spanish-language airwaves soon.
— The Edwards campaign has finished adding two dozen staffers recently. The campaign had pulled Nevada staff earlier in the year and sent them to Iowa. — The Obama campaign has created a Republicans for Obama group here and has pledge cards from more than 600 Republicans.
The latest poll in Nevada is 3 weeks old and therefore does not reflect the recent movement by Obama. It shows Hillary with a double digit lead over Obama (45-18%) with Edwards a distant third. I imagine the candidate's own polls show a much different race which is why Obama has suddenly gotten very interested in the state. He wouldn't be pouring all of these resources into Nevada if he was still 30 points down.
A very interesting turn in the Democratic race. If Obama is competitive in Nevada, he may be more competitive in some other states that haven't polled recently.