Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 | 6:41 p.m.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--There’s an unofficial race among states in an election season like this one: To see which swing state is the most important to the party.
Based on an unofficial survey of Democratic National Convention logistics, it looks like Nevada might have won.
Nevada is one of only five swing states to have been given seats on the floor of the convention hall in the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the configuration is such that most of the state delegations have been placed in the stadium seats.
But Nevada is no ordinary member of this mercurial roster – which also includes Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Virginia (President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois and Vice President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware also get seats on the floor). The Silver State is in the front row.
According to seating maps the DNC was circulating Monday, the Nevada delegation will actually be strangely split between three sections: One in the front row, and two across a divide on stage right. Nonetheless, it’s still prime seating space.
As are the delegation’s digs for the convention: They’ve been put up in the Hilton Garden Inn Uptown, which is three blocks from the Arena and five from Bank of America Stadium, where Obama will give his speech Thursday night.
Nevada isn’t the far and away winner in this unofficial race: Colorado’s delegation is sitting right behind Nevada’s in the convention hall, and the Colorado delegation’s hotel is far closer to the stadium.
But if Nevada can be claimed to have won – or even come in second – it’s no accident. By sheer virtue of its geography, Nevada may be the swing state that decides the election. As the only swing state in the Pacific Time Zone, it has the latest-closing polls.
“You all could very well be the difference between whether or not our nation moves forward or back,” Governor Martin O’Malley, head of the Democratic Governors Association, told the Nevada delegation over breakfast Monday morning, the first of a string of Obama surrogates to fete the delegation this week. “You are an extremely important state.”
“It’s difficult for me to see a path to 270 electoral votes for Mitt Romney that doesn’t go through Nevada,” Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard added, after Nevada’s Monday breakfast. “So it’s on.”