The GOP Nevada Caucus

The Nevada Republican Party has ratified February 4, 2012 as the date for its presidential caucus.

Nevada GOP

Why is the Nevada Caucus Important?
The Nevada Caucus will be the third step in the 2012 United States presidential election process after Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary.The Nevada Caucus came into prominence in 2008 when the Democrats moved the date of the Nevada Caucus into the third overall spot and the fist election in the west for the presidency of the United States of America.The date of the Nevada Democratic Caucuses were moved up for a several reasons. For starters is the simple fact that the West has been growing at a faster rate than the rest of the nation and they were not being represented early enough to vote in a meaningful way. That population growth includes Nevada’s large and growing Hispanic population who will now have a stronger voice in the election process. It also helps that Nevada is a small state (population-wise) and would likely be skipped over by many candidates. Nevada has very independent and balanced political views similar to New Hampshire. In the end, both parties wanted a system to allow each of the four regions of the United States (Midwest, Northeast, South and the West) to be represented and with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid represented Nevada, it became the logical choice.

How does the Nevada Caucus work?

As most caucuses work, you do not do a direct vote for a candidate like primaries. The caucus has 3 levels: The precinct, the county convention and finally the state convention. Overall Nevada has 33 Democratic delegates and 34 Republican delegates.

Nevada Precinct Caucuses

This is where any registered voter can participate. The precinct voting is a very informal proceeding. It starts with the voters gathered into preference groups for each candidate. A simple head count is taken for each precinct. It takes a minimum of 15 percent in each precinct for a candidate to be viable. If a candidate’s preference group is not viable, they can choose to caucus with another group (pick another candidate), or be uncommitted. There is time for each viable candidate’s group to try to talk the unviable candidates voters into choosing their candidate. This is way many times a candidate will seem to have not received any votes, though the actually may have originally. Each precinct then elects a representative (delegate) to move on to the county convention.

Nevada County Convention
Delegates to the county convention were then selected amongst the candidate groups. A similar process occurred at the county convention. Although they file statements of support for their chosen candidate, all delegates are technically unbound until the state convention, otherwise the may change their vote. In some cases the candidate originally chosen may have dropped out of the race.Nevada State Convention

There is no formal system of allocating delegates to presidential candidates at the state convention for the Republicans while the Democrats delegates to the state convention are chosen by vote at the county convention.

The 2008 Democratic Nevada Caucus

Voters showed up in record numbers for the presidential caucuses in Nevada, surprising Democratic and Republican organizers who figured on lower turnout. Hillary Clinton won the initial precinct caucuses 51% to 45% over Barack Obama. This is the most important one to win for it is the one that is reported to the media and as the third election, it can determine whether or not a candidate continues. Barack Obama had won Iowa and had just won the South Carolina primary, while Hillary Clinton had won New Hampshire. A loss in Nevada may have put Clinton in a possible position conceding early. The Democratic County Convention was overwhelmed by the amount of delegates who showed up and was canceled and rescheduled. Doubt Clinton’s initial victory after the state convention Barack Obama ended up receiving 14 national delegates and Hillary Clinton received 11 national delegates from the state of Nevada.

The 2008 Republican Nevada Caucus

Mitt Romney won the precinct caucuses with 51% of the vote while Ron Paul finished a distant second with 14% of the vote. Eventual nominee, John McCain, finished with 13% of the vote. He and other candidates chose to campaign in South Carolina instead.


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