By MICHELLE L. PRICE Associated Press
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cory Booker’s family ties to Las Vegas and the similar demographics between his home state of New Jersey and Nevada will help him compete in the western state’s presidential caucuses, Booker’s campaign manager said Wednesday.
Booker’s national campaign manager Addisu Demissie, who was in Las Vegas to help open the campaign’s first office in the state, said in an interview that Booker’s team also thinks Nevada’s role as the first diverse state to weigh in on the Democratic presidential contest will provide Booker a chance to pull ahead.
“I think it’s going to be a test for all of us to show the broad appeal that a candidate has,” he said. “That’s one of the strengths of our candidacy.”
Booker’s hometown of Newark is mostly Black and Latino, two communities that Demissie says
form much of Booker’s base of voter support and will play a key role in Nevada’s February caucuses.
Demissie noted that statewide, the populations of Nevada and New Jersey have similar populations, each about three-quarters White with similarly-sized Latino, Black and Asian populations and a mix of urban and rural residents.
“I think we’ll see a lot of that strength and familiarity with sort of that diversity come through in this state,” he said. “It’s a test we’re all going to have to take, and I think Cory’s going to pass it with flying colors.”
The senator and former Newark mayor has been visiting Las Vegas for years, to see family, including his mother who moved to the city in 2013.
“Long before he decided to run for president, he was here in Clark County for holidays. He was here for family reunions. So he has a real understanding of what this community is, not just in the political sense, but in the everyday sense,” Demissie said.
The campaign now has about 20 paid staff in Las Vegas and Reno.