Not a lot of unexpected events on the campaign trail. Here’s some short snippets:
A union supporting Senator Hillary Clinton was in court today seeking to prevent casino workers from caucusing in special precincts on the Las Vegas strip this Saturday. The special arrangement had the approval of the both the Nevada Democratic Party and the National Democratic Party.
The reason for the unusual arrangements was to permit workers in Las Vegas casinos to participate in the caucus. Without the special precincts they’d need to leave work for their home precincts in order to vote, something many of them wouldn’t have the time to do.
No one complained until the United Culinary Workers endorsed Senator Barack Obama. Seems the special precincts will greatly benefit many of their members. A union supporting Senator Clinton filed suit to overturn the arrangement. Since the caucuses are this Saturday, a special hearing was held today in Federal Court.
U.S. District Judge James Mahan threw the case out. The special precinct caucuses will take place as scheduled.
At stake is only a few percentages of the overall number of voters expected to attend caucuses in Nevada on Saturday. Yet the race is so tight, this court challenge was closely watched. According to polls (for what they’re worth this campaign season) Senators Clinton, Obama and former-Senator John Edwards all have a chance to win. In most polls, Senators Clinton and Obama are in a statistical tie and Senator Edwards trails, but by a margin just barely outside the margin of error.
The candidates covet a victory in Nevada. Having one’s picture in the paper above the caption “Winner” is always a good thing for a candidate. It provides momentum and motivates contributors. On the Democratic side of the presidential campaign, there are only two picture opportunities remaining before more than 20 states hold primaries or caucuses on February 5th. Nevada this Saturday and then South Carolina on January 26th. (The candidates are by-passing Florida as the state party there got into a tussle with the national party over the state of their primary. As a result, it’s a non-event).
The pressure for a victory in Nevada is fraying some nerves. In Oakland today, prior to the court’s decision, President Bill Clinton was asked whether the Clinton campaign should take a stronger stand against the attempt to dampen down the union vote. The San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGAte.com web site headline says it all” “Bill Clinton Berates Reporter in California.” As the accompanying article from the Associated Press indicates, the former president was a bit testy in his response.
If those special precinct caucuses make a difference in Nevada, he’ll be more than testy come Sunday.