Saturday, February 4, 2012

(First) #NVCaucus Liveblog

12:30 PM-

OK, blog buddies. This may be a long day... Even though we probably already know the results. Why?

Well, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then these Las Vegas Sun snapshots from the Green Valley High School Caucus are worth millions... In canceled Nevada GOP donations, that is!

Oh, and these words from LA Times Vegas bureau chief Ashley Powers don't help (the Nevada GOP), either.

I got kicked out of a Nevada caucus.

I had gone Saturday morning to a community center at Sun City Anthem, where I’d interviewed voters during previous elections. A hub for an age-restricted community of mostly retirees, the building was so packed that one precinct had been moved into the lobby.

I chose at random precinct 1721, where voters had crammed into a small, stuffy room. It wasn’t much of a secret that I was a reporter: I wore a press badge issued by the Clark County GOP around my neck and was scribbling on a yellow notepad the size of a hardcover book.

After about 10 speakers touted their presidential favorites – most of them backed Mitt Romney – the caucus chairwoman, whose name I didn’t catch, announced that no reporters were allowed in the room. The voters sitting near me, who knew I was a reporter, called out that I was taking notes.

The caucus chair, who was standing at the front of the room, repeated: No. Press. Allowed. I said that wasn’t true and held up my press pass.

The chair asked who I was.

“Ashley Powers from the Los Angeles Times.” [...]

“Spy! She’s a spy!” someone else said.

A woman waved a button at me, which said: DON’T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA.

Tough crowd, I thought.

Then a man walked over to me and said if I didn’t leave, he’d call security. So I left the room while voters cast their ballots.

Yay! Horray for paranoid teabaggers! Voting isn't even finished yet, and the crazy has already been turned up to the max.

I know the TEA-nuts hate the media, but this may even be too much for Republicans. Thanks, Nevada G-O-TEA, for again embarrassing our state. We're officially becoming a national joke.

And the caucus is already turning into a real train wreck. In case that wasn't bad enough...

- The Nevada GOP's supposedly "ground breaking" plan to report results via Twitter is already being rendered moot, as the results are already being tweeted by both reporters AND participants.

- Via Spencer Lubitz @ KTNV (ABC 13 Las Vegas), we're finding out that mass confusion has reigned at Green Valley High School. Voters were apparently given unofficial sample ballots WITHOUT being told these were unofficial and not to be counted in the official results, so many voters left GVHS before the real, official ballots were handed out. Donde los yikes??!!

- And if that weren't bad enough, some voters were still arriving at GVHS long after precinct caucuses had concluded. Why again couldn't the Nevada GOP agree on one set time for their glorified straw poll?

- And Henderson may not be the only part of the state facing problems. We'll be keeping track of the mayhem as it continues.

1:00 PM-

Dave Weigel from Slate already has a guesstimate of the results ready (after seeing the early results leaked onto Twitter all morning). Ready for it?

Mitt Romney - 54%
Ron Paul - 20%
Newt Gingrich - 18%
Rick Santorum - 8%

Ralston has already given it his seal of approval, and it sounds right to me as well.

TPM is also reporting on what's been happening at GOP Caucuses today. Here's a dispatch from Durango HS in Spring Valley. Whoa. Apparently it wasn't quite as chaotic as Green Valley HS, but nonetheless the arguments got a little heated as the only thing that could gin up enthusiasm was shared animosity toward President Obama. Sad.

And hey, while we await those "official results", we might as well have some fun with "Nevada's adopted matron saint".

1:30 PM-

HA! It just keeps getting better... Or worse, if you're part of the Nevada G-O-TEA. Geoff Dornan was reporting on the Carson City GOP Caucus, and he noticed none other than Senator Dean Heller (R-Tea Party) there. Apparently he was invited up to the stage to speak... But once that happened, he had already left. Wow. Talk about real "enthusiasm" there!

Meanwhile, the latest #nvcaucus updates still suggest a blowout for Mittens. Now, it's just a matter of whether he'll finally cross the 50% threshold today. Oh, and we'll also find out soon if po' lil' (spoiled rich brat) Newton can even manage to pull into 2nd place.

Jeez, what a train wreck. ;-)

1:45 PM-

Check out The Sun's "Storified" piece on #nvcaucus. Yay! Thanks for showing the world that not all of us are still living in The Stone Age.

And believe it or not, that article is quite flattering compared to this doozy from The LA Times. Congratulations, Nevada Republicans, once again for botching your own Caucus and making our state look even more foolish than we already were before your "Amateur League" politicking threw us off center stage.

3:00 PM-

OK, here's the last update before I open up Liveblog #2. The New York Times and CNN are already starting to report on their entrance polls. So far, LDS turnout is looking good... And may even be slightly higher than 2008 levels at 26% of the total electorate. Of course, the other reason for that may be that not too many other people actually turned out. CNN is now confirming what several observers were noting on Twitter this morning about overall low turnout throughout the state. If this holds up, then Nevada Republicans will be lucky if this year's turnout matches 2008 levels.

So even if/when Mitt Romney "wins" today, the numbers still aren't looking good for the G-O-TEA going into the general election.

OK, I'll take a short "sanity break" before I fire up the new results thread soon. Tonight should be fun. ;-)

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