Your Nevada 2020 election newsletter. Please read, forward and subscribe.
Good morning, and welcome to Indy 2020, a biweekly newsletter focused on the 2020 presidential election in Nevada. A reminder that email subscribers get early access to this newsletter, so be sure to subscribe and tell your friends. It’ll be peachy.
Some brief news before we get going. The Indy — i.e. me — is hitting the road to Iowa and New Hampshire. I’ll be there for a few days before the Feb. 3 caucus and Feb. 11 primary, bringing you all the news you need to know from a Nevada perspective. Let me know what kind of stories you most want to hear out of Iowa and New Hampshire at firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you know any former Nevadans who live in Iowa and New Hampshire, I’ll take that too!)
Also currently taking winter clothing recommendations.
Without further ado, a download of the recent 2020 happenings in Nevada.
TOP OF MIND
Ad tracker 2020: Another bit of news for you! The Indy has launched a brand new campaign ad tracker for the 2020 cycle. We’ll be archiving and categorizing ads by candidate, issue, race, party, the group paying for it, tone, medium and language. We know we’re going to miss some here and there, so feel free to send me over an email at email@example.com with anything you notice that’s missing.
Steyer climbing in Nevada? In case you missed it, billionaire Tom Steyer has apparently had a sudden surge here in Nevada. He leapt to third place, tied with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent support, in a Fox News poll released a little more than a week ago, which was followed up by a RGJ/Suffolk poll showing him tied for fourth with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 8 percent support.
Former Vice President Joe Biden came in at 23 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent in the Fox poll, while Biden and Sanders were closer in the RGJ/Suffolk poll at 19 and 18 percent support, respectively. Warren came in at 11 percent support in the latter poll.
Since the polls have come out, Steyer’s campaign here has been trumpeting its outreach program, and Steyer himself spent a couple of days in the state, attending the second-ever Native American Presidential Forum, an immigration roundtable with Mi Familia Vota, a Culinary Union town hall and an event on climate justice with Chispa, the Latino organizing program within the League of Conservation Voters.
After the Culinary town hall, I asked Steyer what his plan was to ensure that his campaign can even make it to Nevada, when he has to go through Iowa and New Hampshire first. (Steyer’s hovering in the low single digits in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.)
“The plan is to do more stuff like this, is to try and get in front of as many people as possible and say exactly who I am, what I stand for, and what that means. When that happens, good things happen. So that's what's happened so far,” Steyer said. “I started late in July, my numbers have gone up consistently. My goal is to stay in front of as many people, and get in front of as many people, look them in the eye and have them look me in the eye, so I can hear what they're saying and they can hear who I am and what I'm saying.”
But he apparently is catching on here in Nevada, where it’s been hard to avoid the television ads, mailers and billboards that Steyer has spent millions on. Tom McGibbon, 68, a retired engineer who identifies as a lifelong registered Republican, told Indytern Shannon Miller at Steyer’s Chispa event that he’s still undecided between Steyer and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“I want (someone) who can win. Passion speaks to me, I think it speaks to voters, and I think that (Steyer) showed a lot of passion in his comments tonight,” McGibbon said. “I would like to see that come through more in his marketing.”
Steyer clearly isn't relenting on Nevada though. He has nine events scheduled here this weekend, detailed later in this newsletter.
Mayor Pete donates to legislative candidates: My colleague Riley Snyder was going through the recent round of state campaign finance reports due last week when he noticed something unusual — a bunch of contributions from Buttigieg to state legislative candidates. In total, Buttigieg donated $34,000 to candidates, parties and advocacy groups during the fourth quarter of the year Nevada, according to a list provided by Buttigieg’s campaign.
The campaign made six $1,000 contributions, to U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, and the Senate and Assembly Democratic caucuses.
The campaign also made 19 $500 contributions and 20 $250 contributions to state lawmakers, constitutional officers, local elected officials and members of Congress. A few organizations — including the NAACP branches in Northern and Southern Nevada, NARAL, the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada — as well as the Rural Democratic Caucus also received $500 donations.
The rest of the donations went to the Nevada State Democratic Party and the Washoe County Democratic Party.
Paul Selberg, Buttigieg’s state director, said in a statement that the donations show the campaign’s commitment to building Democratic infrastructure in Nevada and across the country.
“Pete recognizes that political change not only comes from the top of the ticket, but all levels of government,” Selberg said. “In 2020, we will finally turn the page on the Trump presidency and bring about real progress by electing Democrats up and down the ticket."
Democrats announce Caucus Day sites: The Nevada State Democratic Party announced last week more than 250 Caucus Day locations for the Feb. 22 caucus. They range from schools and community centers in suburban Nevada to sites on tribal reservations and in small cities far flung from the major population centers. Check out the full list of precincts here.
The party is also continuing its tradition of offering at-large casino precincts on Caucus Day for Strip workers to participate. This year, there will be seven sites — up from six in 2016 — at Park MGM, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Paris, Harrah's, Wynn and Rio. The details of those Strip caucus sites were first reported by CNN.
Casino workers will also be able to vote early at four sites on the Strip. There will be 24-hour voting at the Bellagio — from noon on Feb. 16 to noon on Feb. 17 — as well as two blocks of time on Sunday and Monday where workers can caucus at the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Paris.
ON THE INDY
Presidential campaigns enter the home stretch: If you’ve been living under a rock for the last year and have paid no attention to the presidential election, then this is the story for you! All you need to know to get you up to speed on the upcoming caucus, including what candidates have been doing to make inroads here, how big their staffs are and how they’ve been resonating with voters here on the ground.
Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer are the latest to court the Culinary: The three Democratic hopefuls became the fifth, sixth and seventh candidates, respectively, to appear before the Culinary Union over the last two weeks. The fellow moderates in the race came with pitches for a government-run health insurance proposal that would allow union members to stay on their existing plans. Spoiler alert: The union liked it. More on the Buttigieg and Klobuchar visits here and the Steyer visit here.
Buttigieg hopes to earn “credibility” with black voters: I sat down with the former South Bend mayor a little over a week ago to talk about his struggle to win over black voters, his standing in Iowa, and what the support of the Culinary Union would mean to him. All you need to know from our conversation here. (One small detail in that story worth noting if you’re keeping an eye on candidate momentum: Buttigieg’s most recent rally at Silverado High School was attended by more than 900 people, more than two-thirds of them first time Buttigieg event attendees, according to his campaign.)
Biden eschews being boxed in at a Latino town hall: The former vice president shied away from any firm commitments to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first 100 days as president or appoint a certain number of Hispanics to his Cabinet at a Latino-focused town hall two weekends ago. More details on how that town hall went from me, plus a bonus story from the day before on Biden accusing President Donald Trump of “literally lying” about Iran from Indyterns Tabitha Mueller and Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez.
Democratic hopefuls court Indian Country: Though Steyer was the only one to appear in person, several Democratic presidential candidates appeared at the second-ever Native American Presidential Forum last week in Las Vegas. They talked about Native voting rights, land, health care and missing and murdered indigenous women. Indytern Shannon Miller was there.
Voter registration swelling as a result of automatic voter registration: Our four intrepid Indyterns took a look at the impact that Nevada’s new automatic voter registration ballot initiative, which kicked into effect on the first of the year, is having on voter registration. Previously, Nevada had an opt-in system to register to vote at the DMV, which has now been switched to an opt-out system. Details here.
Ivanka Trump goes to CES: The president's eldest daughter championed apprenticeships and encouraged employers to invest in their workers at the annual conference in Las Vegas, but her appearance sparked some controversy. My colleague Jackie Valley has more.
Staffing changes and office openings
- Four members of Biden’s national team — Laura Jimenez, national Latino vote director; Amit Jani, national AAPI outreach director; Shrija Ghosh, deputy national analytics director; and Nick Canfield, deputy national organizing director — have joined his team on the ground in Nevada.
- Buttigieg’s team has brought on Devaki Dave as their Nevada APIA constituency director and Izack Tenorio as their Nevada Latino constituency director. Amy Adler, the campaign’s get out the caucus director, has moved from the team’s South Bend headquarters to oversee caucus operations here. (Adler graduated from UNLV, co-founded Students for Barack Obama at UNLV, and was the campaign manager for the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus in 2010.)
- DNC Committeewoman Allison Stephens, who previously endorsed Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro for president, is now supporting Warren in the race. This means Warren now has both the support of Nevada’s DNC committeewoman as well as its committeeman.
- Warren also earned the endorsement of West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona, another former Castro backer, as well as the support of state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, who had previously endorsed California Sen. Kamala Harris.
- Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo told me recently that he has officially withdrawn his endorsement of Biden. Fumo is running for the Supreme Court, and judicial candidates cannot endorse.
- The Clark County Education Association threw its support behind presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week. The news was first reported by BuzzFeed but my colleague Jackie Valley has more. (Sanders also recently received a number of endorsements from college professors, educators and education leaders.)
- The Clark County Black Caucus also announced it is officially shifting its support to Sanders, after previously backing New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who dropped out of the presidential race last week. The caucus had said it would support Sanders should Booker not garner enough support.
- Former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones Blackhurst has endorsed Biden for president.
- Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell has endorsed Buttigieg.
Upcoming candidate visits
- Steyer has nine events planned in Nevada this weekend including a Reno small business walk, a meet and greet with business leaders in Reno, a Sparks office opening, a geothermal tour, a virtual town hall hosted by the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus, an El Sol Community Reunion, and an environmental panel discussion. He'll also keynote Battle Born Progress’ 6th annual Progressive Summit at the CSN North Las Vegas Campus and attend SEIU Local 1107's Unions for All Summit.
- Several Democratic presidential hopefuls will also appear by live stream at the Unions for All Summit this weekend.
- The Clark County Democrats announced last week that Buttigieg was the first presidential candidate to confirm for their Kick Off to Caucus Gala on Feb. 15.
- Biden will be in town starting Feb. 16 for the final stretch before the Feb. 22 caucus.
- Steyer’s wife, Kat Taylor, was in Las Vegas on Jan. 8 to attend a Women’s Democratic Club luncheon, an AAPI women’s roundtable and a happy hour at Atomic Liquors downtown.
- Castro was in Nevada on Jan. 10 and 11 campaigning for Warren, who he endorsed for president after dropping out of the race. Pulse Nightclub Survivor Brandon Wolf, trans Advocate Ashlee Marie Preston, and New York State Sen. Gustavo Rivera were also in Nevada that weekend campaigning for Warren.
- Former Secretary of Labor and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Texas Congressman Filemon Vela were in Nevada the weekend of Jan. 11 and 12 to campaign for Biden. They attended various canvass kickoffs, roundtables and a Latino-to-Latino phone bank. (Solis will also be back this weekend to attend the SEIU summit on Biden's behalf.)
- Ambassador Keith Harper, the first Native American to receive the rank of U.S. ambassador, campaigned for Buttigieg at the Native American Presidential Forum on Jan. 15.
- Sanders Nevada state co-chair Amy Vilela and national surrogate Cori Bush attended the Women’s March in Southern Nevada on Saturday, in addition to attending a canvass launch and door knocking. They also hosted two screenings of Knock Down the House, a documentary about several 2018 primary campaigns that features Vilela and Bush.
- Melissa Franzen, a Latina state senator from Minnesota, campaigned for Klobuchar at the Reno Women's March and attended a private meet and greet at Arrow Creek in Reno this weekend.
- Nelda Martinez, former mayor of Corpus Christi, TX, campaigned on behalf of Buttigieg at the Reno Women’s March, while actress and comedian Cristela Alonzo campaigned there on behalf of Warren.
- Fremont City Councilwoman Teresa Keng, campaigning on behalf of Yang, also joined the Women's March and other events in Reno, including a meeting with City Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus, a round table conversation with the Douglas County Democrats, and a canvass launch.
- Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House, campaigned for Sanders in Las Vegas on Monday, touring a dispensary with Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom.
- Former U.S. Sen. and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun will campaign for Biden on Jan. 25 and 26 in Las Vegas, including delivering remarks at the Battle Born Progress summit and an MLK Scholarship Banquet.
- Castro will also return to Las Vegas this weekend to speak at the Battle Born Progress summit on Warren’s behalf. Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie Sanders, will also be in town to speak at the summit.
- Lamell McMorris, founder and CEO of Perennial Strategy Group, former executive director and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and civil rights leader, will also speak at the summit on Buttigieg’s behalf.
- Castro will return to Las Vegas this weekend to join the SEIU Local 1107 and Battle Born Progress summits.
- California Assemblyman Evan Low, Yang’s national campaign co-chair, will campaign this weekend in Las Vegas at Chinese New Year celebrations, including the parade, and meet with veterans and AAPI small business owners.
Other election news
- Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was back in Nevada on Friday to visit the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. Details from Indytern Kristyn Leonard in this tweet thread.
- Steyer’s campaign recently hosted several events as part of a “Black & Latino Empowerment Weekend,” including an interfaith community dinner, a black voters breakfast discussion and an economic empowerment roundtable.
- The Nevada State Democratic Party hosted a mock caucus at SEIU last week in conjunction with the Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus, as well as two LGBTQ+ focused trainings in Las Vegas and Reno in coordination with the Human Rights Campaign. The party also plans to hold several rural Nevada caucus trainings this week, including in Pahrump, Tonopah, Dayton, Minden, Carson City, Virginia City, Fallon, Elko and Ely.
- The state Democratic Party also recently hosted a weekend of volunteer training summits in Las Vegas and Reno, where nearly 500 Democrats showed up to get trained.
- Klobuchar’s campaign is in the process of hosting ambassador trainings.
DOWN BALLOT NEWS
Lee faces ads from the left and the right: Freshman Democratic Rep. Susie Lee is the target of a new ad buy by the American Action Network, an outside group with ties to Republican leadership in the House, pressuring the congresswoman over her decision to vote in favor of impeaching Trump. My colleague Jacob Solis has more on this ad.
At the same time, she’s also one of 17 swing-seat Democrats being targeted in a $2.2 million advertising campaign from House Majority Forward, a non-profit group linked to the Democratic Party’s House majority super PAC. Details on that here.
Lee raises more than $600,000 in Q4: Against that backdrop, Lee raised more than $600,000 in the last quarter of the year. The end-of-year total is $110,000 more than Lee raised in the third quarter. Jacob has more details here.
Meanwhile, Horsford raises nearly $500,000: Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford’s campaign has announced that he raised $455,000 in the last quarter of 2019, pushing his total fundraising for the year to more than $1.6 million. He has more than $1 million cash on hand. More from Jacob on that.
Republicans hold fundraising edges in key Assembly, Senate races: Several Republicans outraised incumbent Democratic lawmakers in the last year as the party attempts to make a comeback after the 2018 election. My colleague Riley Snyder has the details.
REALTORS diving deeper into legislative races: The Nevada Association of REALTORS® has contributed $2 million to political action committees to recruit real estate agents and back friendly candidates in state legislative races. Riley has more.
Ahead of the 2022 election, Sisolak raises more than $1.6 million: Riley also dove into the campaign finances of Gov. Steve Sisolak, who substantially padded his campaign account last year even though he’s not up for election for two more years. Details here.
Judicial candidates are starting to file: Indytern Kristyn Leonard takes a look at which candidates filed on the first day of the judicial filing period.
CCEA collecting signatures for two ballot measures: The union is circulating two ballot measures in an attempt to boost state education funding. If successful, the two measures would head to the Legislature for consideration in 2021, before appearing on the ballot in 2022. My colleague Jackie Valley has all the details of what’s going on, and how proposed increases in gaming and sales taxes are likely to fare.
OTHER REQUIRED READING
- Bloomberg and Steyer count on cash to carry them to victory (AP)
- Caucusing is complicated, so why do we do it? (PBS Newshour)
- ‘Democrats designate Culinary – er, Strip – caucus locations’ (Nevada Current)
Updated 1-21-20 at 9:33 a.m. to correct that one of Buttigieg's staffers in fact did not graduate from Rancho High School, as the campaign had previously said.