Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's Something About Bill

A version of this article appears in this week's SFR.

Cell & Tell: On the Road for Richardson.

When Nevada moved its caucus to Jan. 19, smack between Iowa and New Hampshire, Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, claimed it would “diversify the nominating process” by allowing a Western state to give their candidate an early boost.

However, without the party’s permission, Florida and Michigan also moved their election dates to January. This left Nevada, in the rare poetry of the Associated Press, feeling like the “presidential primary’s awkward stepchild,” with some candidates minimizing their presence in the Silver State.

But not Bill. The Reno Gazette-Journal’s August poll showed that although Bill’s in fourth (behind Clinton, Obama, and Edwards), his support has quintupled to 11 percent since March. While Bill spent this past weekend in Iowa, three vans of faithful gubernatorial constituents journeyed to Nevada.

SFR played Wile E. Coyote with the “Richardson Roadrunners” via mobile phone.

Friday, Sept. 14
2:10 pm, Gallup, NM: “Adopt-a-State” Director Michelle Frost answers her phone while driving, which would be illegal if it were an official state vehicle. She hands the phone to volunteer Don Ortiz, who reports they’re picking up their final three roadrunners.

3:30 pm, Flagstaff, Ariz.: The 30-odd-person convoy stops at Sizzler. Albuquerque volunteer Frank Rosetti reports most choose the salad bar.

7:15 pm, Laughlin, Nev.: They avoid the oft-congested Hoover Dam. Ortiz brags that Frost convinced the Sizzler staff to pick Bill in Arizona’s Feb. 5 primary.

Saturday, Sept. 15
Noon, Las Vegas, Nev.: Rosetti reports he’s learned through neighborhood canvassing that few Nevada Democrats have picked a candidate. The only problem: Even fewer are aware their primary is now in January.

6:30 pm, Las Vegas, Nev.: Rosetti estimates he’s contacted about 40 people, leading him to conclude, “Hillary hasn’t locked up anything.” Meanwhile, Dixie Trebbe from Rio Rancho is phone-banking. She says she spoke to 53 people personally, and only five were actively supporting a candidate, usually Obama or Clinton.

Sunday, Sept. 16
11 am, Las Vegas, Nev.: Richardson’s Nevada communications director preemptively strikes, asking SFR not to call anyone until after 3 pm.

5:30 pm, The Road: After invading a Mexican Independence Day celebration, the weary roadrunners journey home. Rosetti predicts Richardson will “run strong” in Nevada, either winning or taking second place. “It depends on Hillary’s money,” he says, adding that Richardson has some cool new baseball cards.

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