Video: Nevada redistricting complicates caucuses, but could benefit Republicans in 2012 races

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

LAS VEGAS, Nevada--There's a little wrinkle to Saturday's Republican presidential caucuses here in Clark county, Nevada where about 70 percent of the state's population resides.

"A significant number of the people have precinct numbers different than what is on their voter registration card. And they may not know that," Clark County GOP chairman Dave Gibbs told Yahoo News ahead of voting day.

The county last month renumbered about 84 percent of the precincts as part of redistricting following the 2010 census, Gibbs said, presenting a challenge for the county party. They have been working to inform voters of the potential change via the web, email, news stories and other means of communication.

But redistricting isn't simply a complication for Republicans here in 2012.

Gibbs actually views redistricting as the catalyst for why his party is going to rebound in Nevada this election cycle.

"The redistricting in 2001 was so in favor of the Democrats in Clark County that it pretty much shut out the Republicans from any significant level of participation in the state legislature--or at least in the state assembly," Gibbs said. "And now with redistricting, we actually have a chance at getting--if not getting a majority--at least getting significantly closer to a majority than we've been in ten years."

Gibbs conceded that 2008 was the Democrats' year for momentum, but he argued that "one of the good things with pendulums is that the higher you raise it, you know it's going to come back."

Gibbs noted that redistricting has created a new congressional district this cycle--which his party views as a major pickup opportunity, in addition to making legislative districts more competitive. He said voter registration, candidate recruitment, and even volunteer enthusiasm all indicate that energy is on the Republicans' side this year.

"There are a lot of disaffected voters," he said.

Clark County--home to the Las Vegas strip--regularly produces some of the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country. As a result, Gibbs said presidential candidates have been addressing those issues and tying them to the economy and joblessness.

All four candidates have campaigned in Nevada in recent days.

Gibbs wouldn't offer a prediction as to who will win tomorrow's vote and is remaining neutral, but he said he is hoping for a larger than expected turnout Saturday: 65,000 to 70,000 participants in the county, which would be about 23 to 24 percent of county voters.

"Don't know if we're going to get it, but we'd be very happy with it," he said.

Caucuses begin at 9:00 a.m. PST Saturday. The state party will begin releasing precinct results at 5:00 p.m. PST, but Clark County's won't be released until one evening caucus--scheduled at 7:00 p.m. to accommodate religious observances--is completed.

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