Peeling Back The Curtain On Hillary's Nevada Win

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JANUARY 20, 2008

Peeling Back The Curtain On Hillary's Nevada Win

The Las Vegas Sun has an interesting piece (posted here on The Politico) about the highly-effective Clinton organization in Nevada. I suggested in my latest piece that the Obama campaign had the larger organization there. It sounds like the Clinton campaign noticed the same thing a little over a month ago and really re-doubled its efforts:

If you want to know how Sen. Hillary Clinton won a convincing victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, look back to a meeting Dec. 15 at William E. Orr Middle School in Las Vegas. There, Robby Mook, Clinton’s state director, told 600 of the campaign’s most committed volunteers that he wanted to enlist many more supporters to caucus for the candidate — more than twice what he asked for in August. ...

In Nevada, Mook looked at the landscape and found the following: Democrats, despite the predictions of naysayers, had taken a real interest in the presidential caucus. He feared that the campaign would fail if it limited itself to rounding up support only from voters with a history of participation. ...

Mook said in an interview Saturday that his staff groaned at the suggestion of expanding the universe of voters, especially to such a radical new goal: Find 60,000 more. Some analysts estimated that was as much as the entire expected turnout statewide. (In August, the Clinton goal was 24,752 supporters.) ...

The Nevada caucus turned Iowa on its head. There, Clinton hit her original goal but was deluged by the Obama turnout. Here, the turnout was nearly double the 60,000 forecast — standing at 115,800 late Saturday with 2 percent of precincts yet to report.

One other interesting tidbit:

Aside from heavy turnout, the Clinton camp made another smart strategic move that was aided and abetted by a strategic blunder: Although the Clinton team won’t admit it publicly, the campaign had been working Culinary Union members hard and organizing them for the past year. The effort recognized that because the union was waiting so long to make an endorsement decision (it didn’t come until 10 days ago), the campaign could peel off members and get them committed and working while the union dithered. The result was a surprising victory at seven of the nine special Strip caucus sites.

Sounds like a pretty savvy move to me. It could go a long way toward explaining why Obama didn't get much bang out of his Culinary Union endorsement, which was thought to be especially influential along The Strip.

--Noam Scheiber

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posted in: entertainment, hillary clinton, robby mook, nevada

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