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Clinton Visit Raises Dems’ Spirit

Nevada Democrats have turned to the man that can rally voters from any podium, anywhere. 

President Bill Clinton spoke yesterday at the Springs Preserve before a crowd of several hundred people. And from the moment he uttered his first word, Clinton held the crowd enrapt with his anecdotes, folksy policy-talk, and plenty of red meat for the Democratic base.

"Nevada’s always been to me a state of the future," Clinton said. "Look at you, you’re diverse, young vigorous full of energy. I’m glad to look out at the crowd and see that my demographic hasn’t been entirely eliminated, but….I mean, you got a lot of juice! Right?...”

The campaigner-in-chief sprinkled a little Clintonian pixie-dust on each of the Democrats running for office, reserving a bit extra for those who are in increasingly tight races.

"Why's Karl Rove spending a million dollars to beat Steven Horsford?" he asked.

But the main point of the visit was to remind Democrats in Nevada to vote. "Every one of you will pass a hundred people between now and November 4 th," Clinton said. "...who you know well or casually, and who will not vote, unless you ask them to go and vote."

According to Dave Damore, associate professor of political science at UNLV, the charismatic tones of Bill Clinton speechifying in Las Vegas, this close to the election--these are the sounds of Democrats panicking.

"Bill Clinton wouldn’t be coming to Nevada, if the Democrats felt comfortable in the position they were in." Damore said.

One baromoter is early voting, and area where Democrats have dominated for the last several election cycles. As of yesterday, Republicans had cast 17,000 more early ballots than had Democrats--a lead which continues to grow.

Damore says Republicans are benefiting from low turnout rates, but that they’re also running a better ground game these days.

“There’s been a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of fundraising, trying to mimic what the Democrats have done. And the fact that they’re getting them out early bodes well for their prospects." Damore said.

According Republican political advisor and media consultant Sig Rogich, Democrats are heavy-hearted this year.

“There’s been nothing there to really energize the Democratic Party as I’ve watched this (election cycle),” Rogich said. "You've got young people that traditionally should be a great turnout model for Democrats, who are despondent, depressed. They can't find jobs out of college, they can't afford to go college in many cases. And so there’s no enthusiasm for them to get to the polls."

Rogich agrees that Nevada Republicans are more organized these days, and he gives plenty of credit to Governor Brian Sandoval, who he says, has had a "calming affect"  on the Nevada GOP, and its historically fractious tendencies.

"And they’ve kind of side-stepped some of the tea-party dialogue that kind of put people on the edge of the canyon waiting to fall in," Rogich said of Sandoval and the party leadership. "So you’re seeing a little different scenario this time around. And you’ll probably see some results that you didn’t expect to see on election night.”

Rogich sees that Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford as vulnerable, and that the races for Attorney General, state comptroller have tightened. And that control of the state legislature is in play.

“There’s a good likelihood that Republicans gain control of state Senate,” Rogich said.

And so, Democrats in Nevada have returned to the man who can effortlessly and easily move an audience to action no matter where the podium is.

"I feel like an old retired race horse," Clinton told the audience Wednesday.  "And I’m sitting there in my barn, happy as a clam. And all of a sudden, one day somebody walks in and drops another bale of hay in front of me. And after I eat about half of it, they start brushing my coat, you know. And then they take me on the track and they slap me on the rump. Just to see if I can make it around one more time.”
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