Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2014

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Restructuring could change Nevada’s nominating role

WASHINGTON -- Nevada always knew its time in the spotlight as an early presidential caucus state last January may be fleeting.

All year there has been talk of restructuring the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating system to more fairly rotate states as early hosts, and avoid the meltdown of 2008 when New Hampshire jumped the queue and a bunch of states piled up on what became a massive Super Tuesday in February.

Now The Washington Post reports the Obama camp is preparing to propose vast changes to the nominating system next week as Democrats meet in Denver for the national party convention:

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign will call next week for the creation of a commission to revise the rules for selecting a presidential nominee in 2012, with a goal of reducing the power of superdelegates, whose role became a major point of contention during the long battle for the Democratic nomination between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Important for Nevada is this part of the story:

Under the system envisioned by the Obama and Clinton campaigns, most contests could not be held before March, except for those in a handful of states authorized to go earlier -- presumably in February rather than January.

And this:

The other major area the commission will be asked to examine is the operation of caucuses in states that choose that process rather than a primary. The caucuses drew criticism, particularly from the Clinton campaign, which said that they restricted participation and that in some states they lacked the necessary infrastructure to ensure fairness.

We’ve written a bit about rotating primaries in the past, and you can read up on it here.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, had been instrumental in convincing the national party to give Nevada an early caucus -- arguing presciently that the Intermountain West would become a key stop on the road to the White House and Nevada would bring ethnic and social diversity to the nominating process.

Various bills are before Congress to consider rotating regional primary systems, and Reid has been eager to improve the primary calendar with something along those lines. Almost as eager as he has been to keep Nevada up front.

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