Nevada GOP seeks McCain unity, state Democrats still divided |

Nevada GOP seeks McCain unity, state Democrats still divided

Brendan Riley, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY ” The Nevada GOP called Wednesday for unity behind John McCain now that he’s Republican nominee for president, but key state Democrats remained split following Tuesday’s primaries that kept Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a tight race.

There were no shifts among Nevada’s Democratic superdelegates who previously endorsed Clinton or Obama, or were uncommitted. And while some questioned whether continued fighting could hurt the Democrats, others said it ensures high public interest.

“No one’s paying attention to the fact that McCain got the total number of delegates he needed,” superdelegate and Obama supporter Teresa Benitez-Thompson of Reno said. “Everyone is watching what’s happening with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I love that. We’re still the top news story.”

Superdelegate and Obama backer Steven Horsford said Clinton has gone negative in attacking Obama, and the best move now would be for Democrats to unite behind his candidate.

“I have growing concerns that the longer the campaign goes on and the nominee is not confirmed that they’re just going John McCain’s job in beating up our nominee,” Horsford said.

“The momentum of American voters is to Sen. Obama and to try to take this to the convention and have a battle on the floor is just not in the best interests of our party or our country,” added Horsford, a state senator from North Las Vegas.

Clinton supporter and superdelegate Dina Titus said it would be premature to end the Democratic contest now, with Obama holding a lead of only about 100 delegates out of more than 3,000 who are committed, and more than 350 superdelegates remaining uncommitted. It takes 2,025 to win the nomination.

A continuing battle between Obama and Clinton could hurt the Democrats “if it gets too negative and nasty,” said Titus, a state senator from Las Vegas. “But right now it’s having the opposite impact of keeping people energized.”

“The turnouts are high everywhere. People are excited,” said Titus. “So we’re not having any kind of down time which I think McCain is going to have now that he’s wrapped up the nomination.”

Uncommitted superdelegate Catherine Cortez Masto, the state’s attorney general, agreed that “now is not the time” to end the Democrats’ primary process.

“Look how dynamic it’s been so far, Cortez Masto added. “You can’t prejudge it. You can’t take a poll and a temperature at a particular time because it’s not going to be accurate. You’re going to have to wait for the convention.”

Nevada GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden issued a statement congratulating McCain on his surpassing the 1,191 delegates needed to win his party’s nomination and urging the state’s Republicans to unite behind him for “what will surely be a classic barn-burner contest of liberal vs. conservative governing ideologies.”

Despite any disagreements among Republicans during the primaries, they must now unite “in opposing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or any combination of the two,” Lowden said.

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