• Team Romney battles in Nevada amid Obama's advantage in numbers, early voting

    Mitt Romney will need to pull an inside straight to win Nevada and its six electoral votes.

    Roughly 48,000 more Democrats than Republicans went to the polls during the state's two-week, early-voting period. And more than 700,000 votes were cast. Those numbers suggest that if total turnout reaches 80 percent, more than 70 percent of the votes have already been cast.

    Even as many political observers - including one conservative columnist - say Nevada is leaning Obama, Romney campaign staffers are not conceding. They believe they will win big on Election Day, and they need to.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in Nevada doing some last minute campaigning for the man who knocked him out of the Republican primary race. One of his stops was a Romney field office in Las Vegas where he rallied the volunteers who were making phone calls and going door to door.

    "Our voters historically vote on Election Day," Perry said. "Their voters vote during early periods, so these early votes don't cause me great consternation."

    President Obama won Nevada by 12 points in 2008, but it's been a tight race this time. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation -- 11.8 percent. Median household income has dropped $9,900 since 2008. And Nevada's housing industry was among the hardest hit during the recession, still ranking in the top five in home foreclosure.

    But Democrats have a sizeable registration advantage in large part because of organized labor. The powerful Culinary Union Local 226 helped register 70,000 new voters, giving Democrats a 90,000 edge.

    Vinnie Giordano, of Las Vegas, voted early for Obama.

    "I feel he wasn't given a fair chance, that we're stuck with some of the things Bush did," he said.

    Obama has made 10 campaign stops in Nevada this year including one in Las Vegas last Thursday. He has announced his support for programs to help homeowners hit by foreclosure and his desire to help students get low interest loans.

    Romney has made eight trips to Nevada since April. Running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will have campaigned in the state five times when he attends a rally in Reno on Monday afternoon.

    The Las Vegas Review Journal reports the two campaigns have spent a combined $34 million in Nevada, and there's been no let up in political ads. Each campaign is also busy trying to get their voters to the polls Tuesday. Democrats have concentrated on Hispanic neighborhoods in Las Vegas. Republicans sent teams door to door in the surrounding suburban communities of Henderson and Summerland.

    One of the Romney volunteers, Dylan Patterson, flew in from California.

    "I know he can get in and grow the economy," Patterson said. "I really trust him on that."


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