The Mormon Swing Vote

A Scott Conroy piece at RealClearPolitics about the little-discussed “early state” of Nevada brings to mind a small but interesting revelation: in a 2016 Republican GOP presidential field that seems to have three of everything, the number of candidates affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is almost certain to drop from two in 2012 to zero this time around. No, Jon Huntsman wasn’t a very serious candidate in 2012 (though he was taken very seriously in certain precincts of the MSM), but it was certainly an important rite of passage for LDS folk to see two co-religionists on primary ballots. And fellow-Mormons were an important asset for Mitt Romney not only in Nevada, where only Ron Paul even gave him a serious challenge, but in other states with significant LDS populations like Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming.

As Conroy notes, Nevada is now really up for grabs after being Romney Country in both 2008 and 2012. As such, the state will probably get a lot more attention this time around, though the preferences of one Nevada resident, Sheldon Adelson, could ultimately trump the rest of them.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.