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.
I pre-wrote some of this newsletter last week — before all the Iowa insanity — and I put in a little boilerplate line in to kick off this section: “A lot has happened since the last newsletter!”
Looking back, this is the understatement of the century from a much more optimistic four-days-ago Megan.
I’m going to get into all the fun (is “fun” the right word?) app drama, the who won the Iowa caucus drama and all the other pre-Nevada caucus drama I can think up in the section below. But before we get there, just a little aside from my travels about the less glamorous side of campaigning.
I was sitting in the terminal at Des Moines Airport yesterday morning — trying to write as much of the first pass of this story as I could before boarding my flight back to Las Vegas — when who should so happen to sit down on the bench across from me but Tom Steyer, in full suit and standard issue red plaid tie. He sat there, looking at his phone, I think, for awhile.
Every so often someone would come up to him and say hi or ask to take a picture. He talked on the phone at points, but he seemed to start mid-conversation, which made me wonder: Was he just pretending? While we were getting ready to board, Siri loudly announced from a passenger’s phone: “Tom Steyer’s net worth is $1.6 billion.” I looked around. I didn’t see Steyer. The passenger then announced his incredulity that someone worth that much would fly commercial. (To be fair, it is something Steyer promised to do in his campaign to show his commitment on climate change.)
When I was boarding the plane, I passed Steyer, who had a folded up newspaper in his hands with a crossword puzzle on it. I didn’t see him again after I got off. (He was off to an evening rally at Robert O. Gibson Middle School.)
There’s not really a particular point to this story other than to say the guy on your TV and your radio and the billboards, he’s just another person, on a plane, making his way through this world. (Albeit with a billion dollars.)
You know the drill. Email any tips, thoughts, questions, comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Without further ado, a download of the recent 2020 happenings in Nevada (and Iowa.)
TOP OF MIND
The winner of the Iowa Democratic caucus is…? Honestly, who even knows. Do we care? Does it matter? I was so interested to see the profound letdown last night on social media of not knowing who won. I get it. Journalists and operatives have spent months on the ground gearing up for Iowa’s Democratic caucus and then to have it end not with a bang but a whimper? I would feel the same way. But it honestly got me thinking about what we build Iowa up to be. Iowa matters (sorry, to steal a turn of phrase) because we say it matters, as operatives, as journalists, and as interested members of the public. But the sun has now risen and set still without a concrete answer and… we’re okay. The world is still turning. Maybe Iowa is just a tautological proposition.
Okay, for real, the actual winner of the Iowa Democratic caucus is…? We still don’t know! But what we do know is that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is leading with about 26.8 percent support, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 25.2 percent, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 18.4 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden at 15.4 percent, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 12.6 percent, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 1.1 percent and billionaire Tom Steyer at 0.3 percent. This is only based on 71 percent of precincts reporting, and the Iowa Democratic Party hasn’t given a timeline for when the rest of the results will be in.
So what does it all mean? It will be interesting to see how Berniementum and Petementum carry forward into New Hampshire and Nevada. Sanders is already polling well here, but Buttigieg has lagged. If his Iowa bump is at least somewhat sustained through New Hampshire, it could help him significantly here. By the same token, it’s looking increasingly likely that Nevada will be the all-important firewall for the former vice president in this race.
Interestingly, though not all that surprisingly, a poll taken by the progressive organization She the People taken between Jan. 21-24 found Biden leading among women of color in Nevada with 24 percent support. He was followed closely by Sanders, with 22 percent. Another 22 percent were undecided. Other candidates received smaller levels of support including Steyer (14 percent), Warren (10 percent) and Yang (5 percent.)
The poll, which was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, sampled 393 women of color who were Democrats or left-leaning nonpartisans and were contacted online and through cellphone and landline interview. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.
Why does this matter? Because, again, Nevada is the first diverse state to weigh in on the presidential nominating contest, and voters here aren’t just going to rubber stamp whoever just because Iowans and New Hampshirites say so. And when it comes to organizing in communities of color, you can’t just show up one day and ask for someone’s vote the next.
About those apps: If you follow me on Twitter — which I hope you do! Because I tweet excellent content about Pokemon and “Cats” and occasionally politics — you’re up to speed on the latest with the app drama. But the short tl;dr version this is: Iowa Democrats created an optional caucus reporting app. They apparently did not give their volunteers very much time to get comfortable with the app or much training on how to use it. On top of that, there was a coding error, according to Iowa Democrats, that caused some numbers to be reported incorrectly even though the underlying data was correct. Frustrated with the app, many precinct captains instead called into a hotline to report their results, which they found was jammed and unable to handle the incoming traffic. (There were also some reports that people just didn’t bother to download the app.) And all of that added up to no results from the Iowa Democratic caucus being released until Tuesday afternoon.
All of that matters because Nevada also has an app — two of them actually! Or had. The Nevada State Democratic Party announced on Tuesday that it had terminated its relationship with Shadow Inc., the political technology company that had developed both the Iowa and Nevada apps. Without the Shadow apps, it’s hard to see how the Democrats will be able to find another app-based solution in the next 17 days, which means they’ll have to switch to an entirely paper system (one of the backup methods) or devise some other Option C. Democrats have not given a timeline for when they will announce their new caucus plan.
If you’re curious and missed out on all of this, I wrote all about it here.
Ne-VAY-duh: Sunday seems so long ago, a simpler time. I spent my Sunday morning in the town of Nevada, Iowa (yes, pronounced Ne-VAY-duh) learning about its history and talking to residents about the caucus. If you want something (slightly) more lighthearted, I’d recommend giving this a read.
ON THE INDY
What happens in Iowa only happens in Iowa: On Sunday afternoon and evening I spent some time talking to Iowans about their first in the nation caucus — spoiler alert, they pretty much are happy with the process — and whether they should be allowed to keep it. (Another spoiler, they do, though some acknowledge the diversity argument.) You can read more here.
Who has caucused in Nevada, and who will caucus this time? This seems like ages ago at this point, but in this weekend deep dive, I took a look at who historically caucusgoers in Nevada are — data suggest many of them are female, older and live in the suburbs, with a significant concentration of caucusgoers in Northern Nevada — and what changes to the caucus process this time around might mean for efforts to make the process the most diverse and accessible yet.
Steyermentum in Nevada: The weekend before the weekend before the Iowa caucus, Steyer was campaigning in Nevada while his opponents were halfway across the country. I took a look at the California billionaire’s play for Nevada and the traction he’s managed to gain with voters on the ground here.
Bloomberg on the Las Vegas debate stage? The Democratic National Committee announced on Friday that it is expanding the criteria for presidential candidates to qualify for the debate stage in Las Vegas next month. They are removing the donor threshold, which has until now kept former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg from the debate stage as he is self-funding his campaign, and adding a new delegate threshold, which will allow candidates to qualify for the stage simply by receiving national delegates out of the Iowa and New Hampshire nominating contests. Details here.
Republicans plan delegate vote for day of Democratic caucus: The Nevada Republican Party plans to vote to pledge its delegates to President Donald Trump on Feb. 22, the day of the Democratic presidential caucus in Nevada. My colleague Riley Snyder has more.
The war of the ads: Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have either gone up with their first TV ads in the last couple of weeks or added additional spots, including digital and radio ads. Sanders released his first TV ads in English and Spanish, Warren’s first TV ad was also in Spanish, and Biden up with his first radio ad in Spanish, as well as a series of new biographical ads. For the latest, check out our campaign ad tracker. Interestingly, Warren recently canceled a flight of ads between Feb. 17 and 23 in Nevada and South Carolina.
More youth turnout in 2020? Turnout rates for 18- and 19-year-old voters in Nevada’s 2018 election were higher than the turnout rate of older millennials. What does that mean for the upcoming election? Indytern Tabitha Mueller has more.
Upcoming candidate visits
- Buttigieg and Steyer will attend a National Faith Forum at the Mirage being held Feb. 12-14. Buttigieg will join by phone and Steyer will appear in person.
- Yang will attend a town hall with actor Ken Jeong at the Mosaic on Feb. 13 and a “Bagels and Politicos” event at the Latin Chamber of Commerce on Feb.14.
- Biden is slated to return to Nevada on Feb. 16 for yet-to-be-announced events.
- For the latest, check out our presidential candidate tracker.
- Biden was endorsed by 17 African American community leaders from Nevada, including former Assembly Majority Leader William Horne.
- Gloria Caoile, a longtime labor and AAPI community leader and former National Political Director for the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), endorsed Warren.
- Biden was endorsed by 19 community and political leaders, including a Washoe County School District trustee, a North Las Vegas city councilman, and several former elected officials and county party chairs.
- The fairly new LGBTQ civil rights organization Silver State Equality, which I wrote about last year, has endorsed Buttigieg for president.
- Steyer received several small business endorsements in Nevada, including from Trina Jiles, owner of Gritz Café.
- Assemblywomen Selena Torres and Dina Neal endorsed Biden for president.
- Warren received an endorsement from West Wendover City Councilwoman Kathy Durham, among others.
- For the latest, check out our presidential endorsement tracker.
- Abdul Henderson, a veteran and Steyer’s senior national deputy campaign manager, held a veterans appreciation luncheon for the Nevada Democratic Veterans and Military Families Caucus on Jan. 24
- Evan Low, Yang’s national campaign co-chair and a California assemblymember, was in Las Vegas on Jan. 24 and 25. He attended a roundtable with AAPI business leaders, a parade celebrating Chinese New Year and an event with the Nevada Democratic Veterans and Military Family Caucus.
- Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (and former presidential hopeful) campaigned for Biden in Reno and Carson City on Jan. 25, hosting a caucus training with local firefighters and a Carson City office opening.
- Warren campaign manager Roger Lau was in Las Vegas on Jan. 25 to kick off an AAPI weekend of action with a canvass launch during an office opening event in Chinatown and host a Lunar New Year celebration.
- Several surrogates were in town to attend two progressive summits the weekend of Jan. 25 and 26, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro (Warren), former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (Biden), Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun (Biden), Jane Sanders (wife of Bernie Sanders), and civil rights leader Lamell McMorris (Buttigieg.) Many of the surrogates also attended other events while in town.
- Actor Danny Glover campaigned for Sanders in Las Vegas on Jan. 25 and 26. He attended a King Week Scholarship Banquet, a church service at Nehemiah Ministries and a Las Vegas community roundtable.
- Olympian Michelle Kwan campaigned on Jan. 25 in Las Vegas for Biden. She attended the Las Vegas Chinese New Year in Desert Festival Parade, a precinct captain party and potluck in East Las Vegas, and the Summerlin Lunar New Year event.
- New York State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, a Warren surrogate, attended a Spanish-language roundtable with Mi Familia Vota and hosted a Women of Color Mixer in Las Vegas on Friday.
- Former Secretary of the Interior and Colorado Senator Ken Salazar hosted a canvass kickoff in North Las Vegas, attended a Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus meeting and joined a Native American Caucus Central Committee Meeting on Saturday on behalf of Biden.
- California Rep. Ami Bera campaigned in Las Vegas on Monday for Biden. He attended a precinct captain training and hosted a “Chai and Chat” event focused on mobilizing the AAPI community.
- Sam Steyer, son of Tom Steyer, and Axel Adams, Steyer’s national African American outreach director, will be in Las Vegas on Feb. 6 for a Black Men’s Roundtable at Eclipse Theaters.
- Rep. Dina Titus is slated to campaign for Biden in Northern Nevada on Feb. 8 and 9.
Staffing changes and office openings
- Klobuchar’s team has brought on a data systems ambassador to manage precinct-level outreach in Clark County. They have also brought on six ambassadors to focus on the campaign’s operations in Washoe County, including marketing and donor engagement.
Other election news
- On Jan. 22, the Sanders campaign announced that it has knocked on more than 200,000 doors statewide in all 17 counties, held nearly 5,000 canvasses, phone banks, and other direct voter contact events, made more than 2.7 million phone calls to voters, recruited more than 2,500 Caucus Day volunteers and opened 11 offices and brought on more than 110 staff across the state. The campaign promised to knock 300,000 doors in the final month of the campaign before Nevada’s Feb. 22 caucus.
- The same day, Warren weighed in on Twitter on an immigration-related lawsuit against the city of Las Vegas: “Las Vegas must honor its pledge to stop unconstitutionally detaining immigrants.”
- Sanders released a new video “Home Health Care Workers Deserve Respect” on Jan. 24, ahead of SEIU Nevada’s Unions for All Summit.
- A group of educators and students joined a Nevada Educators and Students for Pete group.
- Biden launched a Nevada Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Leadership Council. The group will be chaired by Ash Mirchandani, a Las Vegas business and community leader, and Doris Bauer, a board member of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, will be vice chair.
- The Nevada State Democratic Party and the Young Dems hosted caucus trainings for college students last week in Reno and Las Vegas.
- The campaign also completed a day of action with volunteers on caucus recruitment over the weekend, reaching 30 percent of their donor base across 15 counties.
- Chispa Nevada hosted a second Spanish-language caucus training on Tuesday.
DOWN BALLOT NEWS
Former GOP Assemblyman running for CD4 raises $156,000 in Q4: Jim Marchant, a Republican former assemblyman hoping to take on Democrat Rep. Steven Horsford in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, has raised more than $156,000 in the last quarter of 2019, putting his cash on hand at a little more than $209,000. My colleague Jacob Solis has more.
Former treasurer raises $565,000 in bid against Lee in CD3: Former Treasurer Dan Schwartz, who is hoping to challenge Democratic Rep. Susie Lee in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, announced he has raised more than $565,000 through the end of and has more than $447,000 cash on hand. More from Jacob on that here.
OTHER REQUIRED READING