As early voting began Saturday in Nevada, the Secretary of State reported that Democrats had the voter registration edge by about 60,000. The Democrats have 470,919 registered voters, while the Republicans have 410,811, and the nonpartisan total is 175,094.
The Democratic lead notwithstanding, that old electoral adage holds true: It is all about turnout.
Harry Reid’s campaign recently told Politico it is preparing to unleash “what officials say will be the most expensive and far-reaching get-out-the-vote operation Nevada has ever seen.” The Politico piece reported that Reid has nearly 70 paid staffers plus 3,000 volunteers working on turnout.
Team Angle is no slouch, though, when it comes to turning out voters, as evidenced by her primary win. The RNC and other out-of-state conservative groups are also pouring resources into the Nevada get-out-the-vote effort. FreedomWorks and American for Prosperity (AFP), two of the largest and best organized conservative national grassroots organizations, both say they intend to send reinforcements to Nevada in the final two weeks of the election.
FreedomWorks says it is sending a leadership team of a dozen to Nevada to help organize the group’s 4,600 instate members.
“We’re distributing walking maps for volunteers to pass out candidate literature for Sharron Angle and we’ll be passing out yard signs,” said Tabitha Hale, spokeswoman and New Media Director for FreedomWorks. “We have also targeted 50,000 Nevada voters for phone calls between now and the election.”
“Also, on October 28th, senior staff will be coming down to Nevada to set up a war room, of sorts, in Las Vegas,” added Hale. “We’ll have people phonebanking, passing out materials, and acting as a service center for volunteers in the critical last days and hours of the election.”
Americans for Prosperity also said this week it has thousands of Nevada citizen-activists engaged in phone banking and door-to-door efforts. A spokesperson said the group is primarily focusing its efforts on NV-3 where they feel Titus is beatable.
“We have two full time staffers on the ground in Nevada, and AFP has more than 30,000 members in the state,” said AFP Director of Membership & Online Strategy Erik Telford. “We have already made more than 25,000 phone calls focused on Titus and Reid, knocked on more than 5,000 doors, and will reach tens of thousands of additional citizens over the next few weeks.”
A spokesperson for AFP last week said the group is focused almost exclusively on House races, with on-the-ground operations in more than 60 targeted Congressional Districts.
When asked whether Nevada Democrats should be worried, Telford quipped, “Yes, I’d be worried if I were them.”
In a race this close, in a state with so few voters — and so few of them still undecided — turnout is truly critical, especially with third-party candidates and “none of these candidates” on the ballot to compete with Reid and Angle. Every vote will count, and the campaigns and their allies know it.