Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Richardson’s operation expands in Edwards’s vacuum"

The Hill:
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D) presidential campaign announced that it is expanding its Nevada campaign operation the same day reports came out that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is moving some of his staff from there to other early-voting states.
Edwards’s move prompted a warning from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that candidates who ignore the Western state’s caucus “do so at their own peril.”

Perhaps sensing an opening, Richardson’s campaign then announced it was adding staff to the state, one the governor’s staff has called critical to its campaign strategy.

“Senator Reid is right, the road to the White House runs through Nevada,” Richardson said in a statement. “Though other campaigns may waver, I remain committed to campaigning in Nevada.”

Richardson added: “To ignore Nevada is to ignore its diversity, its strength, and the tremendous value of the West to our party and to our country.”

Edwards’s campaign manager, former Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), said on a conference call with reporters Thursday that observers “should not read too much into the move.”

When asked about the reallocation of staff and resources, Bonior said Nevada is “absolutely important,” but “as the calendar changes, we have to put our resources where it’s important.”

The former congressman said the campaign would be shifting a “handful” of staffers in and out of the state as the primary and caucus season moves along.

Bonior joined the call with other Edwards staffers and members of the New Hampshire press corps to talk in detail about the former senator’s upcoming tour of the Granite State.

Some analysts have questioned recently whether Edwards was pinning all his hopes of victory on a win in Iowa.

Bonior appeared eager to dispel any such notion in Thursday’s call, calling New Hampshire “critical” and telling reporters they should “expect to see a lot of John and Elizabeth Edwards from this point on.”

In his 2004 effort, Edwards devoted a great deal of his time and resources to the nation’s first primary state, boasting of attending 100 town hall meetings there.

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