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Nevada Hispanics the Focus of Early-Registration Push

Nevada Hand-Picked for Initiative Because of Demographic's Clout

-- by Timothy Pratt, The Las Vegas Sun

When political veteran Gus West spoke with Andres Ramirez in the nation’s capital this year about staging a Hispanic voter registration project somewhere in the United States, Ramirez immediately suggested Nevada.

 The onetime North Las Vegas mayoral candidate’s recommendation was not driven by an allegiance to his home state. It was, rather, a perfect fit because of the increasing attention Nevada’s growing Hispanic electorate had drawn on the national stage. The Hispanic factor was, after all, one of the reasons the Democratic Party chose Nevada for an early caucus in last year’s presidential race. The marked increase in Hispanic turnout throughout the previous decade had also been noticed. It was a foundation worth building on, West and Ramirez agreed.

On Saturday, West, board chairman of The Hispanic Institute, based in Washington, is to announce the voter registration project’s launch, together with a group that includes Cuauhtemoc “Temo” Figueroa, most recently the national Latino vote director for the Obama campaign.

Figueroa estimates the project will cost at least $1 million and create as many as 50 jobs statewide. It is yet another sign that “the Hispanic community is becoming an integral part of winning states” in presidential elections and that Nevada, in particular, “has so much at stake,” he says.When political veteran Gus West spoke with Andres Ramirez in the nation’s capital this year about staging a Hispanic voter registration project somewhere in the United States, Ramirez immediately suggested Nevada.

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