Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

A key county in the middle of the 2024 race tries to pick sides

By 37ci3 Mar14,2024

RENO, Nevada – The road to the White House in 2024 passes through several places like Washoe County and the “World’s Greatest Small Town.”

Reno’s home is the purplest county in a critical purple state, Nevada’s decisive battleground. With the Republican presidential primary behind them, the challenge now is to appeal to voters in the middle in places like this. Washoe is both a major focus and potential flash point for both parties heading into the 2024 election.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by just over 1 percentage point. Four years later, Joe Biden increased the local lead to 4.5 points, but the result in this year’s contest is far from certain.

The latest numbers from the Nevada Secretary of State show the Republicans a host of about 7,000 people In registered voters over Democrats out of a total of 311,000 voters. That’s more than the registered voter lead Just over 1,000 in 2020. Non-party registered voters make up about a third of the Washoe rolls.

Like their counterparts around the country, Nevada Republicans have mixed opinions about their nominees. For those paying attention, Donald Trump is a messianic figure. According to others, it is too controversial.

“I have to say, the majority of Republicans in Washoe County are with President Trump,” Washoe GOP Chairman Bruce Parks said last weekend while speaking to fellow Republicans at the county convention. “There weren’t even a handful of people [there] It expressed their displeasure with President Trump, but they all said they voted for him. Because they cannot honestly vote for someone who will do what the current occupant of the White House has done to this country.”

Still, there are signs that Trump has work to do outside of activist gatherings like the district party convention. In last month’s presidential election, when Trump was not on the ballot because he ran in the GOP caucuses instead, Nevada Republicans voted “None of These Candidates” over Haley, 63% to 31%. However, Haley fared better on the battlefield in Washoe County, only to lose 53%-40%.

That suggests at least some Republicans are looking for a more moderate figure. But Parks, a 20-year Army veteran who will serve as county party chairman through 2021, is not seeking a Republican candidate.

“The moderate Republican philosophy, as I understand it, means that we have to compromise our principles,” Parks insists. “There is nothing wrong with compromise as long as it is for the good of the nation. But not if we compromise for the benefit of select groups or this lobbying organization or this pharmaceutical company. Absolutely not.”

According to local political expert and political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Fred Locke, the removal of moderates from the party is a red flag. “The party apparatus was taken over by extreme right-wingers. They cleaned up the lot,” Lokken says.

Any Republican swing in Washoe could be decisive in November. Reno Republican Eric Rampel focuses on what each candidate is doing when choosing.

“What was America like when President Trump was there?” Rampel said. “What is America like now that Biden is there? And with these facts in front of me, I lean more towards Trump.”

With so much at stake in Washoe, Democrats are also gearing up their political machine for a push into Northern Nevada.

Maddy Pawlak, director of communications for the Biden campaign in Nevada, told NBC News that while Biden currently has no offices in the state’s northern counties, there will be a “huge surge” in the next few weeks. “We’re building the organization we need to win here, and that includes Washoe County,” he said.

One area where the parties are gearing up for battle: mail-in ballots. Nevada is a universal mail-in voting state that has proven popular with residents. In the presidential elections held last month 85% of Washoe bulletins arrived by mail. (This number does not count those who voted in person at the Republican caucus.)

But time recognizes party officials nationally Bank votes and the importance of using mail-in ballots to get people out are unconvincing Washoe Republican officials like Parks.

“I say to all our people: take your ballot to one of the polling stations and leave it in person. Under no circumstances, for any reason, do not put it in the mail,” Parks said.

This skepticism comes straight from the top of the ticket. During an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News in February, Trump said without providing any evidence: “If you have a mail-in vote, you’re automatically committing fraud.”

However, Parks said he also plans to participate in the search for postal voters: “We’re going to try to play a better game than them, if you will.”

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By 37ci3

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