Nevada GOP Caucus: Ted Cruz’s Tough Land Rights Talk In State’s Rural North Could Sway Voters

As the campaigns of the remaining Republican U.S. presidential candidates have descended upon Nevada this week, the battle for the state’s rural caucusgoers has played an increasingly prominent role for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Hoping to pick up what is seen as a population with a libertarian streak in the northern part of the state, Cruz is using the controversial issue of federal and state land rights to convince voters he is the true and dedicated enemy of big government, a hallmark of both his tenure in the Senate and his candidacy.

Cruz’s plan to restore ownership of a massive amount of federally owned land in Nevada to the state’s citizens is in stark contrast with rival candidate Donald Trump’s proposals. Unlike Cruz — and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — the billionaire has said he doesn’t trust states to manage their land responsibly. The strategy to pull in rural caucus participants who are passionate about this issue could narrow a polling gap and help Cruz beat Rubio — and perhaps even Trump.

“I think that the land rights issue could be useful to Cruz in Nevada just to try to find a way to at least get second place and possibly win,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican political analyst who worked as a strategist on Arizona Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. O’Connell, citing the time he’s spent working on campaigns in the Silver State, speculated that the energy Cruz could generate with the land issue could potentially tip the scales in his favor in parts of the state. “It’s a bigger issue in northern Nevada,” he added.

Read more from Clark Mindock at International Business Times

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Analysis & Political Strategy