Both sides agree that, in Nevada, Democrats have had the upper hand since 2004, when Reid's re-election campaign began to build a major campaign infrastructure in the state and the Nevada GOP melted down under infighting that persists to this day. This year, the national Republican Party put staffers in the same offices as the Romney campaign to essentially stand in for the absent state party. It is rushing additional staff members from Washington and neighboring, noncompetitive states for a final push..
Americans For Prosperity, a conservative group, watched in alarm as the Obama campaign and its allies in the labor and immigrants' rights movements continued to dominate in voter registration and canvassing. It hired 100 people through a private vendor to try to beef up conservative voter registration.
"They've had this going on since 2004," said Adam Stryker, AFP's Nevada director. "We're definitely up against a formidable foe."
Last weekend, the Romney campaign office was active, with volunteers swinging by to pick up a canvassing packet. Several others, like the Constantines, had grabbed their material Friday night and were already on the streets.
On Tuscan Sun Drive in the Mountain View subdivision, the Constantines, who just moved here from Minnesota, remained optimistic, even though they found no voters willing to listen after an hour of door-knocking. "The people we've run into who are going to vote for Romney are very excited," said Richard Constantine, 25.
Romney's staffers estimated they had about 100 people out knocking on doors. But the low-key push contrasted sharply with nearly a half-dozen organizing events the Obama campaign was holding, partly to capitalize on a parade celebrating Mexican Independence Day that would draw tens of thousands of Hispanics.
Even at the Obama supporters' locations, however, it was obvious that the contest would be close.
At a union office in the eastern suburb of Henderson, John Martinez, co-state political coordinator for the United Steelworkers, acknowledged that, despite the Democrats' numerical superiority on the ground, the vibe is different than in 2008.
"People haven't been into the ball game yet," he said. Still, he added, "things are picking up. That feeling is coming back."
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