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Democratic candidates for White House target Pahrump voters

The two Democratic presidential hopefuls’ campaigns took aim at Pahrump in the last week.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez made a stop in town Tuesday morning, campaigning for Hillary Clinton the morning after the Iowa Caucus.

Perez spoke to Clinton supporters at the Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters and spoke with media in attendance, in his just over half an hour appearance.

“I’m very optimistic because we have a remarkable operation out here and frankly equally, if not more importantly, we have a great message that resonates the diverse communities here in Nevada,” Perez said. “She (Clinton) has a proven track record of success on such a range of issues that are kitchen table issues here in Nevada.”

On Monday in the Iowa Caucus, Clinton narrowly defeated fellow Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders in the caucus vote 701-697. The vote was labeled a “virtual tie” because of how close the margin was, but Perez said having any sort of lead was a win for Clinton.

“They said that if there were 170,000 or more participants that Bernie would win, and there were more than 170,000 participants and Hillary Clinton won,” he said. “You look at the union participation, that was a huge factor that worked for her. Look at voters that care the most about health care, which was Senator Sanders’ signature issue and they went for Hillary by something like 20 percent.”

Perez explained that stopping in smaller towns like Pahrump is key to reaching as many of the voters as they can, not caring about population size.

“Clinton believes in an every county strategy in Nevada and in every state. That’s why she had a remarkable ground operation in Iowa, in New Hampshire and here in Nevada,” he said. “Pahrump is a hugely important part of this state. What’s remarkable in coming here today, the 50 or so people that I met in that room, they really reflect America. There’s remarkable diversity in Pahrump. Racially, age, we have young organizers, retired veterans, we have African-Americans, white retirees. In short, Pahrump kinda looks like America and Nevada looks like America.

“I think that Hillary Clinton is going to do great here.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign team also made their presence felt in town as they opened an office last week.

The Pahrump office, which opened Jan. 28, will be linked into the Sanders campaign’s statewide network of volunteers working in Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Carson City, Elko, Winnemucca and Fernley.

During the kickoff celebration, many of Sanders’ supporters met with key campaign staff to discuss plans for Pahrump Valley in the coming weeks and obtained advice on how to best organize their local communities as precinct captains in the lead-up to the all-important Nevada caucus on February 20.

“We have had an astonishing growth in the number of volunteers all over the state and we know that people in Pahrump are also feeling the Bern, which is why we are opening an office here,” said Joan Kato, state director for Bernie Sanders in Nevada. “His message about wealth inequality and universal health care, for instance, are issues resonating with Pahrump families and we want them to organize and continue growing.”

The community is welcome to stop by the Sanders campaign office, located at 2201 E. Postal Drive.

“I encourage people in Nye County to caucus for Bernie Sanders,” Kato said. “Those that are under the age of 18 on February 20 can also caucus, so long as they turn 18 before November 8.”

Nye County residents can find out out their caucus location at https://caucus.nvdems.com/.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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