Friday, July 06, 2007

Hillary Wows Nevada Democrats - Why Endorsements are Important

Hillary Clinton scored another couple of endorsements, mostly low-key this time but including the first rural one. The LVRJ:

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign says it will announce another batch of endorsements from Nevada elected officials today.

If it seems like you've read this story before, it's because Clinton's Nevada campaign is racking up practically all the endorsements of prominent Democrats, from state officers to county commissioners to legislators to city council members.

Coming on board today will be Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow, North Las Vegas City Councilwoman Stephanie Smith and Dennis Keating, president of the Nye County School Board.

They follow a trail blazed by Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid and since trodden by such Democratic notables as former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, former Gov. Bob Miller, state Sen. Dina Titus, Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, state Treasurer Kate Marshall and long lists of business leaders and activists in the Hispanic, black and Asian communities.

Some of the more interesting endorsements are still out there, as thus far most Democratic members of the state legislature have yet to endorse any candidate. Washoe County's Democratic Assembly members are recounting their experiences to the Reno Gazette-Journal's Ray Hagar:

"It was very exciting to check my voice mail and have a message from Hillary Clinton," Leslie said. "She left me her cell number and her office number. You can't help but be star struck when national candidates of that caliber are calling you on your cell phone. That has never happened to most of us in Nevada.


Bobzien is a prime example of the push to get the legislators. He's just coming off his first term in the Assembly but was given the honor, usually reserved for a party bigwig, to introduce Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, during his recent presidential campaign stop in Reno.

"It was pretty exciting, and I certainly had butterflies in my stomach when I did it," Bobzien said.

Of course, butterflies are not a criteria for choosing a presidential candidate, so David Bobzien has asked his constituents to let him know their opinion on his blog. The original post already has four comments to it, all by Hillary Clinton supporters:

“Oh yeah, the caucus.” Phone and email messages from supporters, surrogates and even the candidates themselves were already stacking up and reminded me that the next part of my new job as a politician had already begun. Nevada’s Democratic Presidential Caucus was in full swing and it was time for me to hop aboard. Candidates are campaigning hard, and they’re asking for my support.

Having met six of the eight Democratic candidates for President, read books written or suggested by many of them, and followed news of the campaign, I would have thought my choices for President would be clear by now. But here’s the thing…

I have no idea who I’ll ultimately support for President.

That’s where you come in. I need your help.

David Bobzien also posted an email from a Richardson supporter. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign explains the importance of these endorsements:

"Having an early caucus in Nevada is new," said Hilarie Grey, state press secretary for Clinton. "So, when you have people in Assembly districts who run grassroots campaigns, who really know their district, its people and their issues, those are the kind of people who you want working in your campaign."

The campaigns are not just after the representatives endorsements. They also want their organizational skills.

"It is important to keep in mind that you need people who are good at organizing, who are grassroots advocates who will bring a caucus together," said Adam Bozzi, Nevada press secretary for the John Edwards campaign. "Our big focus is trying to make sure that we have people who know how to organize."

Added Grey: "At least in the Clinton campaign, we are not looking for symbolic endorsements. We are looking for people with great knowledge of Nevada and great grassroots networking that can help Nevada."

And the Clinton people certainly know how to wow Nevada Democrats. The Nevada Dem blog reported on Tuesday:

The major presidential campaigns were well represented by articulate, passionate and committed staffers. Hillary Clinton knocked everyone’s socks off with a magnificent, very personalized video message to the group –- boutique marketing at its zenith!
And Molly Ball of the LVRJ also took notice of this:

At a recent party Central Committee meeting in Elko, all the candidates sent representatives. But Clinton sent a personalized video in which she mentioned many party insiders and staffers by name.

"People were standing there with their mouths open," the official said.

"They couldn't believe Hillary Clinton said their name. They all wanted copies of the video."

And there would be a lot of copies to go around. Judge for yourself. The campaign has posted the video on its website.

Of course, all this has a little side-effect - expectations:
A prominent Democratic insider who hasn't endorsed a candidate said some of the national campaigns were leery of committing too many resources to Nevada's first-time caucus effort if Clinton already has it sown up.

That, the insider said, could hurt the credibility of the new effort and diminish its significance in early-state momentum.

"In D.C., they think it (Nevada) is hers to lose, so they are not paying as much attention to Nevada as they could be."

Another side-effect was mentioned by the Las Vegas Gleaner - that Nevada might be perceived as Clinton's to lose. Is it?

Do you live in Nevada and are a supporter of Hillary Clinton? Then join the Nevada for Hillary Clinton group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site.


andy said...

Jon Ralston's 7/13/07 article in the Las Vegas Sun says that although Hillary is the front runner, don't think that Barack Obama doesn't have a shot at winning Nevada. Having endorsements from high-profile supporters doesn't ensure she will win. It's the grassroot supporters who really count.

This is a horserace. Living in Las Vegas a lot of people who bet on horse races know that the horse in front going into the stretch is not always the one that wins. The winner is the horse that paces itself and stalks the leader, overtaking it in the final stretch to the finish line. Obama is in a good position to overtake Clinton in the race to the finish line.

His grassroot supporters are working hard to make this happen because we believe in his ability to LEAD the nation. He has set himself apart from all the other candidates with his Leadership skills. He has the best leadership skills of all the candidates. He understands the problems and issues, he makes intelligent and sound decisions based on reasonable facts. He listens first to the arguments, then he considers all options (the pros and cons of the issue) and then he decides. Unlike many who decide first, then think about the implications of what they did and then listen to the options.

Americans want the next President to be a true Leader. They will get that in Barack Obama.

vegasobserver said...

Who cares which local politicians are endorsing Hillary, or for that matter, any other presidential candidate? Are voters so clueless and disengaged from the process that they need to be led around by the nose by county commissioners, state senators, and city councilmen/women? This whole thing where local and state politicians get in line endorsing presidential candidate strikes me as so much backslapping and horsetrading by political insiders; politicians scratching each others' backs so they can call in their chips after the election. It's not restricted to Nevada, by any means; it's a relic of the era of machine politics where politicians habitually slighted and disregarded the intelligence of voters. The bottom line is, WHO CARES?