By Scott Sonner
MINDEN — New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker became the first Democrat running for president in 2020 to campaign in rural Nevada on Friday, saying rural communities have a lot in common with inner-city dwellers who are often “talked down to” and “left behind.”
The parade of candidates that’s already underway in the early caucus state routinely stumps in Las Vegas, where 70 percent of the voters live, and sometimes Reno and Carson City.
But the former mayor of Newark told about 100 people jammed into the Douglas County Democratic headquarters in Minden that all the candidates should visit their rural community on the Sierra’s eastern front about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Carson City.
“I’m campaigning for the support of all Nevadans,” he said.
Booker said he’s the only presidential candidate who was a chief executive of a city and also served in Congress. He says his push for economic justice and affordable health care would benefit Americans of all walks of life.
“I’m not just a big city mayor,” he told reporters during another stop at the Washoe County Democratic headquarters in Reno later Friday afternoon. “I ran new Jersey’s largest city through an economic crisis. It was a city that was always under-estimated, a city that was talked down to, a city that was often left behind.”
“That is something I think a lot of rural communities feel a kinship with, have that same chip on the shoulders that we have — that defiant sense of purpose. That our communities matter too. That our communities should be paid attention to also. Our communities have incredible potential as well,” Booker said.
“I’ve been really affirming that connection that exists between Americans where we have a lot of common pain and we need to get back to a sense of common purpose. I’m going to be the guy that is president of the United States who has already shown what I can do in communities that are overlooked, left aside and often left behind,” he said.
Nevada’s caucuses next February follow New Hampshire and Iowa as third in the nominating process, before South Carolina, the biggest early test in the South.
As he has already in Iowa and South Carolina, Booker said he likes to make early campaign trips to areas that are “less traveled.” Booker said he frequents Las Vegas because his mother lives there in the suburb of Summerlin and made his first official campaign trip there in February. He said he wanted to venture into a rural area on his second trip to the key western swing state.
Booker told reporters it’s too soon to talk about impeaching President Donald Trump, breaking with fellow Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who urged the Democratic-controlled House on Friday to “initiate impeachment proceedings.”
“There’s a lot more investigation that should go on before Congress comes to any conclusions like that,” he said.
Booker said Congress should concentrate instead on gathering the resources it needs to do its job of “oversight and accountability.”
He said Congress doesn’t yet have an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe or any of the underlying materials the report is based upon. He said they also haven’t had a chance yet to question Mueller during congressional hearings.
Booker spoke Thursday night at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and was headed back to the southern Nevada city for four more appearances scheduled on Saturday, including a breakfast at a Baptist church, a stop at a barber shop and a dinner with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.