GARDNERVILLE, NEVADA — Las Vegas is a popular destination for presidential candidates of both parties to raise campaign cash, but this weekend’s upcoming political event, headlined by Ron DeSantis, is far from the Vegas Strip.
The Eighth Annual Basque Fry will take place on Saturday in Gardnerville, Nevada, at the Corley Ranch – a rural area overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountains. But that doesn’t mean that high-rolling political figures won’t be in attendance.
The Morning in Nevada PAC is hosting the event along with Never Back Down, a super PAC that backs DeSantis and is launching grassroots efforts in early-voting states.
The event will include live music, Basque cuisine and an inflatable rodeo ride, bringing Republican heavyweights together to unite against incumbent Democrats in what has become a yearly tradition.
“THE STAKES COULDN’T BE HIGHER”
But with DeSantis headlining the event this year, his political strategy becomes more apparent. After early voting in Iowa and New Hampshire concludes, the primary shifts to more diverse states like South Carolina and Nevada.
But unlike South Carolina, with primarily white and black voters, Nevada is known for greater diversity, much like the state of Florida, where DeSantis won reelection by almost 20 points.
At previous fundraising stops, DeSantis resolutely told supporters that the 2024 election would be an inflection point for the country.
“We’ve got to get it right because the stakes couldn’t be higher,” DeSantis told supporters in Greenville, South Carolina earlier this month.
“THE SKY’S THE LIMIT”
DeSantis also touts his policies in Florida on critical issues like immigration, education and healthcare – calling for those reforms to be implemented nationwide. If elected president, he says he’s “looking forward to rolling out really exciting proposals” and thinks “the sky’s the limit.”
Nevada is also the most urban of the four early caucus and primary states, encompassing a large Asian, Latino and black population. The Silver State ranks third in the U.S. for the percentage of its population living in metropolitan areas.
The largest metros in other early voting states are 61st-ranked Greenville, SC, with just over 900,000 residents, 88th-ranked Des Moines, IA, with 655,000 residents and 130th-ranked Manchester, NH, with 415,000 people. All three regions combined are less populated than Greater Las Vegas.
As his campaign expands into Nevada, DeSantis has an opportunity to see how well his conservative policy resonates with local voters.