Nevada’s Candidates Host National Level Politicians to Rally Voters
As Karolina Rivas reports, week two of early voting in Nevada saw slightly more registered Democratic voters going to the polls than their Republican opponents. Even as the state keeps attracting famous politicians, it is unclear whether these top name political visits will have an effect.
Getting the Vote Out
Hundreds gathered in different parts of northern Nevada recently as a series of political leaders showed up for campaign rallies. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Republican Vice President Mike Pence spoke in the swing state to advocate for Senate candidates Jacky Rosen (D) and Dean Heller (R).
Just six hours up the I-80 from Reno, Nevada, President Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of thousands in Elko the weekend before.
At the University of Nevada, Reno, the crowd for Sanders consisted mostly of students, a demographic that is often less inclined to vote than others. Only 46 percent of eligible voters ages 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 presidential election.
Carlos Perez-Campbell, president of the University of Nevada, Reno, Young Democrats, says the 2018 midterms are crucial.
“Millennials tend not to vote and especially in this midterm, motivating them to go out to the polls is so important,” Perez-Campbell said. “It’s great and all to have these passionate beliefs but you gotta do something about them.”
A Shared Stage and a Protest
Rosen delivered a campaign speech focusing on healthcare, youth involvement in politics and voter participation. Sanders, during his own comments, wasted no time taking a jab at President Trump’s administration.
“I’m here today to stand up to a president who wants tax breaks for billionaires but is prepared to throw 32 million Americans off the health insurance they have,” Sanders said.
While a majority of the crowd expressed support for Sanders, among the audience were Trump supporters. In the middle of the senator’s remarks, Sanders noticed a group of students waving a “TRUMP” flag over the side of a parking garage.
Sander’s halted in the middle of his speech to point out the group and questioned them about Trump’s tax breaks and health care policies.
“Brothers and sisters, our agenda is a little bit different,” Sanders exclaimed.
Daniel Estopinal, 22, was among the pro-Trump students and says he was excited when Sanders called attention to the group.
“He seemed baffled that student could support the president,” Estopinal said. “To be yelled at by him and hundreds of people at once was really exhilarating […] I was happy to stand up there and have people boo us to demonstrate that the university is not monolithic in its politics.”
An Airport Rally
Over in Carson City, on Oct. 27, event goers filed into a bus that transported them to a hangar at the Carson Airport. There, Vice President Pence spoke alongside Republican Senator Heller who is seeking re-election and gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt.
Border security and Nevada pride were popular themes throughout the evening. People chanted “Build the wall! Build the wall!” after Heller made a call for secure borders. Laxalt received a firm “No!” from the crowd after asking the group if Nevada wished to represent their deep blue neighbor California.
Erin Eichhorst, 48, says she visited the event to gain “more sense of pride for her country” and hopes it helps those who are undecided voters.
“I feel like our country is really divided,” she said. “You have those people who aren’t sure and this is a great opportunity for them to come find out ‘Hey, is this the direction I want our country to go?’ and possibly change some people’s minds about this is where we need to be at.”
Vice President Pence upheld President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” and encouraged the crowd to vote for Republican candidates to keep the majority red in the Senate.
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., is scheduled to make an appearance in Reno and Carson City Nov. 2. — the last day to vote early. Election Day is on Nov. 6.