Few willing to bet on turnout for caucus

No one's even willing to hazard a guess about how many people will turn out on Saturday for Nevada's first-in-the-West caucus.

Neither party has a clear front-runner going into the race on Saturday. The Republicans have had three different candidates win the contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan. On the Democrats side, the battle of the senators between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is a dead heat with Sen. John Edwards coming in a consistent third.

I spoke with Douglas County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman Maggie Benz on Wednesday who said she's been on the phone constantly answering questions about Saturday's caucus.

Maggie said a 10 percent turnout will translate into 1,600 Republicans at the dozen meeting places they've established.

She said State Sen. Bob Beers has been predicting 30 percent for Saturday's event, which would mean 4,800 Republicans.

This is the first time in at least eight years Douglas Republicans have had a caucus. In 2004, they held precinct meetings, but the party's nominee was a sure thing, President George W. Bush.

When they meet 9 a.m. Saturday Republican's first order of business after they get organized will be to elect delegates. Then they will conduct the straw poll and work on party platforms, Maggie said.

Unlike the Republicans, who have to be registered or a teenager who turns 18 on or before Nov. 4, Democrats will be letting folks who register on Saturday participate.

Rural coordinator Cynthia Trigg said she was picking up 2,000 additional registration forms for counties like Douglas, Lyon, Storey and others in preparation for a rush of new voters.

A turnout of 18 percent of the county's Democrats would result in more than 1,400 participants.

"We think it will be a very successful caucus if we get 18 percent," Cynthia said. "We're excited we're making history."

Cynthia said they had 150 Democrats turn out Valentine's Day 2004 when they met at Lake Tahoe. Published reports said more than 100 attended the Valley precinct meeting at Douglas High School. My impression is that they were stunned that many people showed up.

I'm not even going to go into the square dance Democrats will participate in when they go to their meetings at 11 a.m.

One big difference in how Saturday's meetings are conducted is how the results will be reported.

On the Republican side after the precinct meeting, results will be collected and counted at the CVIC Hall. Republicans will then announce the winners.

On the Democrat's side, results will be announced at the precinct meeting and then reported directly to the state.

We're rerunning the caucus chart, only this time with the right number of delegates on the Republican side. Hopefully, no one's using the chart in Wednesday's edition to determine how many delegates each precinct receives.

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There's an e-mail going around purporting to be Jeff Foxworthy's list of things you might be familiar with if you're from Nevada.

They look a lot like former R-C Editor Guy Clifton's list of signs you might be a Nevadan. But after looking over the list, it's hard to tell where they came from. Since Foxworthy has never been a Nevadan, I question him as a source.


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