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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.
The top 10 Democratic presidential contenders are preparing to return to Las Vegas on Wednesday for a presidential gun safety forum sponsored by the advocacy groups Giffords and March for Our Lives and hosted by MSNBC. It’ll be a somber occasion: Today is the two-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, which killed 58 and injured more than 800. While in town, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will meet with nurses and first responders at UMC — the only Level 1 trauma center in the state — and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will host a conversation on everyday gun violence with students.
Not all events will be just focused on guns, though. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will attend a town hall on medical debt, Medicare-for-all and Social Security, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will host dueling rallies at the same time Wednesday night in Reno and Carson City, respectively. As always, the Indy will be there covering it all, so keep checking the website for updates.
Without further ado, a download of the recent 2020 happenings in Nevada.
WHAT THE INDY IS WATCHING
Warren places seven-figure ad buy in Las Vegas: The Massachusetts senator has dropped nearly $1.2 million to reserve pre-caucus airtime in Las Vegas and Reno, according to an unaffiliated Democratic operative tracking the ad buy. ($864,000 of that is in Las Vegas, according to recently filed reports with the Federal Communications Commission.)
The buy — which runs from Jan. 27 to Caucus Day, Feb. 22. — comes as part of an overall $10 million-plus ad buy in early states announced by Warren’s campaign last week. (Thanks to my eagle-eyed colleague Riley Snyder for flagging that the FCC reports posted.)
Polls, polls, polls: A CNN poll over the weekend puts Biden and Sanders neck-and-neck in Nevada at 22 percent each, and Warren just behind them within the margin of error at 18 percent. Harris trails at 5 percent, with Buttigieg and billionaire Tom Steyer each at 4 percent. A Suffolk/RGJ survey from last week had only slightly different results, with Biden at 23 percent, Warren at 19 percent, Sanders at 14 percent, and Harris a distant 4 percent.
There’s a slight shuffling among the top three contenders, but what’s becoming clear is this: Support is consolidating around Biden, Warren and Sanders, which will only make it increasingly more difficult for Harris, Buttigieg or any of the lower-tier candidates to gain ground not just in the Silver State but nationwide — even with robust campaign operations.
The blue firewall in Clark County grows: Statewide voter registration totals for September will post soon here, but numbers out of Clark County show that Democrats have a 134,000-person lead over Republicans, and nonpartisans and other third-party registrants are only behind the GOP by a little less than 4,000. We’ll see how the new statewide totals shake out, but by the end of August, Democrats had a 73,392-person, or 4.6 percentage point, lead over Republicans statewide.
For comparison, Democrats had a 5.1 percentage point advantage over Republicans when the red wave of 2014 swept the state — and many Democrats didn’t turn out to the polls. During the blue waves of 2016 and 2018, Democrats had a 6.1 percentage point and a 4.8 percentage point lead over Republicans, respectively. The tl;dr — voter registration numbers matter, but you also have to get those voters to the polls.
Our freelancer Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez also took a look at efforts on the ground to register historically underrepresented groups on National Voter Registration Day.
Biden on impeachment: Biden returned to Las Vegas on Friday and attended his first public event since the House launched its impeachment inquiry. At the event, Biden said that President Donald Trump violated his oath of office, put at risk national security and “abused” the power of the presidency and taxpayer dollars. Biden said it was “not surprising” that he had become “the object of [Trump’s] attention” but that his job is to “make sure above all else we beat Donald Trump.” He also attended an evening fundraiser with businesswoman Heather Murren, who is also the wife of MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren, and Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck. Read more here.
Harris hosts tele-town hall: Harris hosted a Nevada-specific tele-town hall last week where she said that the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump would be a “full and righteous airing” of what she described as the “corruption and misdeeds” of the president and his administration. More from me here.
Mayor Pete goes north: Buttigieg met with housing advocates, joined a picket with striking members of the United Auto Workers Union and held a rally over the weekend during his first visit to Northern Nevada since launching his presidential campaign. Buttigieg’s team has been quickly ramping up its operations in Nevada, and he became the first candidate to file paperwork to participate in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s Keep Nevada Blue dinner this weekend. Indytern Mark Hernandez covered it all.
Steyer was also in Reno for the Democratic party dinner. He hosted a town hall and met with UAW members on strike while in town as well. Self-help author Marianne Williamson did not attend the dinner but was in Las Vegas last week, speaking at an event on keeping children safe with actor Richard Dreyfuss and meeting with voters at two yoga centers.
Booker on Desert National Wildlife Refuge: Following in the footsteps of Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker came out in opposition to a proposed military expansion into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas on Public Lands Day, Sept. 28. The military’s proposal would remove nearly 300,000 acres from the largest wildlife refuge in the contiguous United States. “We owe it to future generations to balance the needs of military readiness and conservation to respect and protect the cultural heritage and wildlife on these public lands. I believe all stakeholders, including tribal nations, should be consulted in any plans for the refuge,” Booker said in a statement. (The announcement came even as Gov. Steve Sisolak declined over the weekend to take a firm position on the issue.)
Endorsement tracker coming soon: You’ve gotten to know and love our candidate tracker — and soon the Indy will be launching a presidential endorsement tracker. Keep an eye out in the next week or so for its launch.
Staffing changes and office openings
- Buttigieg’s team has now hired 35 staff members in Nevada and plans to have 10 offices open by the middle of this month, including in Carson City, Fallon and Pahrump. The South Bend mayor has also brought on Travis Brock, former executive director of the Nevada State Democratic Party, as his national caucus director and Juan Carlos Perez as national Latinx engagement director.
- Harris’s campaign hosted a Reno office opening on Sept. 19 attended by Washoe County Recorder Kalie Work, who is backing the California senator for president. Her team also put on a number of events for Hispanic Heritage Month.
- Warren will be opening three offices this month in Carson City, Elko and Southwest Las Vegas.
- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro brought on Megan Macias, who was previously an intern for the campaign, as regional organizing director.
- Former tech executive Andrew Yang has opened his first office in Las Vegas and will soon open one in Reno. His campaign also says it has plans to expand its Nevada team this month.
- Former Gov. Bob Miller and Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado endorsed Biden for president.
- Wells Mayor Layla Walz endorsed Buttigieg, as did dozens mayors across the country.
- Former North Las Vegas City Councilman Theron Goynes and retired educator Naomi Goynes endorsed Booker.
- Castro received five community member endorsements.
- The Giffords and March for Our Lives presidential gun safety forum hosted by MSNBC is happening on Wednesday. Ten candidates will be in town for the forum — Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren and Yang — and also attend a bunch of ancillary events scheduled around the forum on Wednesday and Thursday. Check out our 2020 Candidate Tracker for the full details.
- Warren will return to Las Vegas to march in the Las Vegas Pride Parade on Oct. 11.
- Buttigieg will keynote Battle Born Progress’s annual Celebrate Progress event on Oct. 22.
- Castro will speak at the People’s Forum on Oct. 26 at the East Las Vegas Community Center.
- Amy O’Rourke, wife of Beto O’Rourke, made her first solo trip to Nevada, hosting a conversation on gun safety with Moms Demand Action and the National Organization for Women and meeting with members of the Latin Chamber of Commerce’s Professional Mujeres Group.
- Rep. Ro Khanna campaigned on behalf of Sanders in Reno over the weekend. He joined a canvass launch and spoke at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s Keep Nevada Blue dinner.
- Carolyn Booker, mother of Cory Booker, was also in Reno for the Democratic party dinner over the weekend. She attended a canvass launch, a Washoe Dems meet-and-greet and a community breakfast while in town.
- Douglas Emhoff, Harris’s husband, was at a Truckee Meadows river cleanup, a lunch with UNR students and a phone bank in Reno over the weekend. He also stopped by the Democratic party dinner.
- Maya Rupert, Castro’s campaign manager, toured a resource center for homeless youth, opened a Reno campaign office and attended a “Women of Color” coffee before attending the Democratic party dinner Saturday night.
- Rep. Barbara Lee was in Southern Nevada for Harris over the weekend, launching a phone bank kick off, meeting with women leaders, and attending a canvass kick off. Rep. Ruben Gallego, Harris campaign manager Juan Rodriguez and labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta are all slated to travel to Nevada on Harris’s behalf later this month.
Other election news
- Biden’s campaign is co-hosting a “Vegas Strong” blood drive in partnership with IBEW Local 396 on Wednesday.
- Several Nevadans who have not yet endorsed for president — including Attorney General Aaron Ford, DNC Committeeman Alex Goff, and two assemblywomen — took to Twitter to make their pitches for why Booker should remain in the presidential race and urged people to donate to help him reach his $1.7 million fundraising goal by the end of the month. Booker announced on Monday that he has met his goal and will stay in the race.
- DNC Chair Tom Perez attended a Spanish-language caucus training with Rep. Dina Titus and Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Will McCurdy on Monday at Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 525.
DOWN BALLOT NEWS
Navy veteran, ex-congressional staffer formally launches CD4 bid: Charles Navarro launched his bid for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District Thursday, joining a widening field of Republican hopefuls looking to flip the seat red in 2020. My colleague Jacob Solis has more.
OTHER REQUIRED READING
- Housing troubles seep into 2020 campaign (AP)
- In Las Vegas, Joe Biden’s sister dismisses calls to impeach Kavanaugh (CBS News)
- Las Vegas police investigate a break-in at GOP headquarters (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Updated 10-1-19 at 8:21 a.m. to correct that Castro campaign manager Maya Rupert did not attend a United Auto Workers picket as planned on Sept. 28.