© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the opening of the Biden for President campaign office in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., February 3, 2024. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
By Jarrett Renshaw
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will take his pitch for reelection to Nevada voters on Sunday as part of a two-day stop in the battleground state ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
The president is expected to host at least two campaign events in the arid Western state, which has just over 3 million people, most of them clustered in or near the gambling center of Las Vegas.
Biden will visit the historic Westside, an area northwest of the Las Vegas casino “strip,” where Black Americans founded their own casinos and clubs about 100 years ago because of segregation.
Biden appears on Nevada’s Democratic presidential primary ballot along with self-help author Marianne Williamson and other lesser-known challengers. Democratic U.S. Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota missed the filing deadline and won’t appear on the ballot.
Biden narrowly beat his Republican rival Donald Trump in Nevada by 33,596 votes, or less than 3%, in 2020, and opinion polls show a rematch between the two men, which seems likely in 2024, would be close. About 30% of Nevada’s population is self-described as Latino or Hispanic on the U.S. Census, and Republicans are making some inroads with these voters nationwide.
Nevada, with six Electoral College votes toward the 270 needed to be elected president, is viewed as a litmus test for Latino and Hispanic support, and for independent voters.
Republicans hold a primary on Feb. 6 in Nevada as well, but Trump won’t be on the ballot as he has opted to participate in a Feb. 8 caucus in the state instead.
Nevada has about 705,000 registered Democrats, 646,000 registered Republicans and nearly 768,000 who are “nonpartisan,” according to the latest state figures.
Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primary voters also have the option to vote for “None of these candidates.”
As the November election draws closer, Biden and his team are traveling the United States, including stops in Nevada, to talk about the recession-defying economy, and the impact of the president’s clean energy tax breaks, union support and infrastructure investment.
In December, Biden visited Las Vegas to tout a new high-speed rail that will connect the city and Los Angeles. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit in August highlighted union training programs, but also illustrated the tough sell “Bidenomics,” the president’s economic plan, has been for his team as Americans grapple with high prices.
Last March, the Biden administration created a new national park, Avi Kwa Ame, the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain, in southern Nevada. The site is sacred to Native American tribes including the Paiute and Chemehuevi, and provides habitat for species such as the desert bighorn sheep and the desert tortoise, as well as a Joshua tree forest.
In recent weeks, Biden has stepped up his direct attacks on Trump, describing him as a threat to democracy and questioning his mental capacity.
Biden’s strategy, which included moving senior White House staff to the reelection campaign, reflects the view that Trump will be the Republican candidate, despite his ongoing nomination competition with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.