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Rural Nevada creating a virtual presidential campaign trail

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Democrat Kimi Cole is tired of excuses from presidential candidates who say it’s too expensive and time-consuming to visit areas of rural Nevada like her town of Minden, population 3,400.

To get there from Washington, D.C., however, would likely mean at least a seven-hour, multi-stop flight to Reno, followed by an hour’s drive. It’s a unique challenge for Nevada, which sits much farther west than the other two early voting states.

To overcome the logistical challenges and ensure those living in rural communities play a key role in vetting candidates, Cole told The Associated Press that she and other Nevada Democrats are setting up a series of virtual visits with the presidential campaigns.

They hope to launch the first series of online video conferences with the 2020 contenders within a month. It could be a nationwide model as presidential candidates expand the traditional campaign map to seek support in places where Democrats have struggled, including rural America.

“You can drive 300 miles and 400 miles (480 to 640 kilometers) across the state and you may not get in front of very many people,” said Cole, chairwoman of the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus. “I understand all that and I’m respectful of all that but doggone it, we have modern technology.”

Cole said she’s working with other organizers to ensure their internet connections can handle the virtual visits. The cyber-campaigning could give presidential candidates a chance to reach thousands of scattered Nevada Democrats whose votes they need to court to gain an advantage in a crowded field.

AP News

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