Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2019

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2008 Nevada Caucus

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Illustartion by Chris Morris

Chris Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Nevada’s caucus was traditionally an afterthought. But that changed in 2008 when it joined a select group of states picked to hold early contests in January. Turnout was unprecedented: 117,599 Democrats turned out to caucus Jan. 19 — 12 times the number who caucused four years ago.

Archive Highlights

Rush to judgment on Kucinich, debate
The loser of last week’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas may not have been Hillary Clinton, John Edwards or Barack Obama. It appears to be Nevada’s courts.
How Clinton hit pay dirt
If you want to know how Sen. Hillary Clinton won a convincing victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, look back to a meeting Dec. 15 at William E. Orr Middle School in Las Vegas.
The people have spoken
They were, Joann McAllister and Pat Quenzel would say later, the most intense few minutes of their political lives which, prior to Saturday’s Nevada Democratic presidential caucus, really had not been all that political.
Breathless: Last Campaign Hours
The hours leading up to Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. Democratic caucus were a whirlwind of activity and emotion for three Nevada legislators and for the political director of the state’s most powerful union, the Culinary. The Sun sent a reporter to tag along with each of the four.
Culinary Union can’t muscle win
The ramifications will be felt for some time, as the union now faces a divided membership and perceptions of lost clout after months of carefully cultivating its image as Nevada’s political kingmaker. (Another line from the flier boasted, “Culinary Members Will Elect Barack Obama!”)
Reid caucuses, but keeps his choice a mystery
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wakes up at 5:30 a.m. on the day he created. It is caucus day in this old mining town, as peaceful as any place around, 780 people and no stoplights. Yet Reid worries. Using his sway as the third-most-powerful politician in the country, he has muscled an early caucus for Nevada.


The Culinary and The Caucus

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Video: The Culinary and The Caucus

Reader Comments

Selected posts from the Jan. 19 Nevada Caucuses

Our precinct (2311) was so chaotic that Chelsea Clinton herself came in and helped to organize the entire affair. … But the sheer lack of directions, word-of-mouth misinformation, and questionable actions by all campaign representatives reinforced what we all know… we need to move to a primary process. The caucus requires too much preparation and instruction for our underfunded state organizations to pull off successfully.

tim on My Caucus

The media should refrain from reporting on polls and allow all candidates equal time. Campaign financing should be public and equal to all candidates as well. Corporations and big money must be disconnected from the process. Only then will the people truly be able to choose fairly.

Socrates on How Clinton hit pay dirt

My husband has been a loyal Culinary Union member for 25 years here in Las Vegas and he does not support the candidate the union chose. Since the Union backed Obama, my husband has come home every day with a leaflet from the union basically stating “your either with us or your against us!” Their intimidation and strongarm tactics did not work. How sad for them.

bac432 on Culinary Union can’t muscle win

I realize that the State of Nevada switched from primaries to caucuses to save money. However, Harry Reid & Co. listen to me. The caucuses are a really bad idea, because they cause individual groups of Democrats to be hostile to each other live and in person. It’s going to be hard for the losing group of Democrats to stomach voting for the other candidate in November…given the real emotion I saw today. Next time, PLEASE have a primary!

OldTimeDemocrat on Clinton wins Nevada

Thank you for making this point, Brian. How dare the networks call the election before the votes are counted. And how dare the Nevada GOP change the rules constantly before the election. This is America, not a banana republic.

1440minutes on Calling the winner before they count the votes

All in all a pleasant experience -- mostly because it was refreshing to see so many people interested enough in the future of this country to spend a few hours in a middle school gym. I’d still prefer a primary, as I had to schedule around it. I was told the state said they wouldn’t fund a primary election, so that’s why we are doing caucuses now?

turtlegirl on My Caucus