LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Friends and neighbors debated the Republican candidates’ pros and cons at the Nevada caucuses at Durango High School on Tuesday evening, with hundreds standing patiently in line to cast their votes and hear from representatives of the different campaigns.
The atmosphere was festive, with an eclectic variety of caucusgoers actively engaging in political conversations about the candidates and the issues.
Since the caucuses are not decided through a secret ballot, but through deliberation, there were few restrictions on campaign paraphernalia worn by attendees–or by staff.
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) February 24, 2016
After signing in, voters were given a ballot and permitted to cast it — the old-fashioned way, with a mark in a box — or to meet with fellow voters from their precinct, who would advocate for their preferred choice, or hear speakers on behalf of each candidate.
Durango was one of the few caucus sites where the media were allowed to interact freely with voters.
Breitbart News joined a caucus discussion around a table, where there were two votes for Donald Trump, two for Marco Rubio, and one each for Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich.
One of the two Rubio voters had entered the caucus undecided, but had his opinion swayed by the arguments at the table–which revolved about electability.
Elsewhere, Trump, Rubio and Cruz were the most frequent names to come up during roundtable discussions.
Cruz “lays it out exactly what his plan is.” said Candice Hererra, a small business owner.
“Go to TedCruz.org and it’s all just laid out there,” said Johnny Hererra, a paramedic and police officer.
“This whole thing with Ted Cruz, he lied. And we shall know them by their fruits,” said Christina Stimson, 62, a missionary doctor. “If I want a pastor-in-chief, I can go to my church. I want someone who can get the job done.”
Although the process was orderly, passions became heated at one table, as a man began holding forth on the topic of illegal immigration.
Robert, 88, and Beverly Hardy, 84, have been married for 61 years. Beverly told Breitbart News she is voting for Rubio whereas her husband is voting for Trump.
“He wants him because he’s gonna get the job done. And I think Rubio, because we need young blood.”
Kasich and Carson came up far less frequently, but their cases were made with equal conviction by their devotees.
Adelle Nazarian contributed to this report.