Nevada judge allows at-large precincts

A Nevada judge has ruled in favor of the Nevada Democratic Party and against the lawsuit that sought to ban the at-large precincts. There is no need to go into the details of the lawsuit again (if you aren't up to date on this controversy, check here for some background), but here is a quick overview: What the ruling does is validate the creation of at-large precinct at Las Vegas casinos at which anyone can vote regardless of their residence, i.e. at which casino workers can go and caucus in the middle of their shift. If the at-large precincts had been overruled, the casino workers would have had to go back home to vote -- which many would surely would not have been able to do.

This is obviously welcome news for the Obama campaign, who has been endorsed by the Culinary, the union representing casino workers. The Culinary is now even more worked up against Hillary as a result of this lawsuit (despite there being no evidence that the Clinton campaign was behind this and the most plausible scenario being that this is a result of intra-union fighting). And don't forget that Nevada is a caucus like Iowa, so we will only see the percentages of delegate allocation at the end of the night.

One factor that could save Clinton here: No matter what the turnout in these precincts, there will still only be the same number of delegates attributed at the end, so the same share of statewide voting. So even if the Culinary manages to anger enough workers to turnout hundreds of supplementary votes for Obama in these precincts, it will not boost his final percentage at all since it will result in the same number of delegates.

One more note on unions in Nevada comes to us from Politico's Ben Smith, who observes that unions are spending on Obama's behalf in Nevada. You might remember that Obama had blasted his rivals in the run-up to Iowa for relying on "Washington money" and "special interests" among which he was lumping unions. That had sparked a controversy, with Paul Krugman denouncing Obama's use of conservative talking points, but Obama apparently has no problem relying on union expenditures in Nevada.

Meanwhile, Clinton is seeking to create some light between her and her rivals on an issue very important to Nevada voters: Yucca Mountain. This was discussed at length at Tuesday's debate, and Clinton is now airing a radio ad claiming she has been the only candidate strongly opposed to Yucca Mountain. She blasts Edwards for having voted twice in favor of the project and criticized Obama for his financial ties with one of the project's biggest pushers. Needless to say, Obama is fighting back against the charges saying that Exelon's contributions to the campaign in no way affect his opposition to Yucca Mountain.