Clinton Expands Nevada Operation As Sanders Gains Momentum, Biden Weighs Run

Hillary Clinton (Photo via Hillary Clinton for President)

With Senator Bernie Sanders hot on her trail, and Vice President Joe Biden ruminating whether to jump in the race, Hillary Clinton is looking West, expanding her Nevada operation ahead of next year’s February caucus.

The former Secretary of State and First Lady opened a second Nevada office this week.

According to the Las Vegas Sun:

The office will be in Reno and serve as a phone bank, recruiting hub and canvassing headquarters for Northern Nevada. The new location follows the July opening of Clinton’s Las Vegas campaign. Clinton, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, won the Nevada Democratic caucus in 2008 and has kept the framework of that campaign intact.

Nevada was one of the only “caucus states” Hillary won in 2008, beating Barack Obama 51% to 45%. Hillary also won the New Mexico caucus in a close race, 49% to 48%.

According to the New York Times:

The state carries only six electoral votes, but its demographics reflect the political realities in other Western potential battlegrounds, such as Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. “We want to win the caucus and lay the groundwork to win Nevada in November 2016,” Mrs. Clinton said at a town hall event here on Tuesday, her third visit to the state since she declared her candidacy in April.

Democrats here hardly hide their frustration that the state’s Feb. 20 caucus, the third in the nominating contest — after Iowa and New Hampshire — does not get the attention from candidates they think it deserves.

“I mean butter cows are great, but at some time we’ve got to move west,” said Kate Marshall, a former state treasurer who served as co-chairwoman of Mrs. Clinton’s Northern Nevada operation in 2008, referring to a well-known attraction at the Iowa State Fair.

Clinton’s Nevada operation is seemingly far ahead of her opponents, with Clinton boasting nearly two dozen paid staffers and at least 70 active volunteers.

The Clinton campaign has 22 full-time staff members in Nevada and had 70 volunteer fellows this summer, compared with 47 paid staff members in Iowa. The Nevada operation has contacted nearly 28,000 voters, held 1,136 one-on-one meetings and traveled the state to target Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and African-Americans. “It’s a microcosm of the rest of the country,” Ms. Ruiz said.

By contrast, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponents, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, who also were in Nevada this week, have no staff here.