Barack Obama put tons of time, effort and money into rural Nevada. He visited Elko three times. The Las Vegas Sun asks, Did it matter?
Obama did improve the Democratic Party’s standing in rural Nevada. John Kerry never visited the rural parts of the state and so Obama’s efforts increased the number of Democratic voters in small town Nevada by more than 10,000 votes. “et even if Obama had not gotten a single vote in the 14 counties outside Clark, Washoe and Carson City, and even if all of his votes had gone to McCain instead, he still would have carried the state,” reports Alexandra Berzon . Obama won the state’s cities by 145,000 votes. Rural Nevada had less than 110,000 votes in total.
“We used to really be able to leverage things in rural Nevada — just the sheer numbers there,” Reece Keener, chairman of the Elko Republican Party, told Berzon. “I said in 2004, this may very well be the last statewide election where rurals can leverage the vote, just because of the meteoric rise of Las Vegas and the inroads Democrats are making in the unions. We’ll still see Republicans campaigning here because we’ll continue to be an important source of votes. But we just don’t have the pull that we once did.”