Sun Valley Republican caucus crowded with enthusiastic voters

By Brandon Fuhs

Lines were backed up outside the Sun Valley Family Resource Center throughout registration Tuesday evening; Sign of a record turnout. Photo by Brandon Fuhs.

Dozens of people were forced to wait in lines outside the Sun Valley Family Resource Center three miles north of Reno on Tuesday night for the Republican caucus, with some waiting for at least thirty minutes after the designated window was supposed to close at 6:00 p.m.

“We had a constant flow of people coming in,” said Sun Valley Site Coordinator Cheryl McKinney.

Though McKinney has volunteered during elections for ten years, this was her first year as a caucus site coordinator.

“We ran out of chairs at one point,” McKinney said, “It was just so crowded and some people were irritated, but it’s like Disneyland – there’s going to be lines.”

The Sun Valley caucus site was responsible for more than 2,000 constituents spread among more than 25 precincts.

A first time caucus participant in his 60s, who wished to be identified simply as “Max,” is a student and teacher at Truckee Meadows Community College. He came to the caucus to support Trump.

“I’m tired of politicians making promises they can’t keep,” Max said. “I really think a businessman from the outside is the thing this country needs.”

Max said his finances suffered during the recession and he hasn’t been able to recover.

“I didn’t think I would be living in a mobile home in Sun Valley still,” he said.

The median household income in Sun Valley is slightly more than $45,000 a year, which is in the lowest 20% in the nation.

Caucus attendee Dean Chelossi declined to say who he voted for, but said he recently became a Republican after voting as a Democrat for many years.

“I voted for Bill Clinton because I thought he was the best chance for change,” Chelossi said. “Now I don’t have faith in the Democratic party. I don’t like their candidates and some of my views are changing and lean more Republican, but I would consider an Independent if he were to enter the race.”

Caucuses are closed elections, which means only people registered to the specific party can participate. The Republican deadline to register in Nevada was Feb. 13.

McKinney sent the ballots to Washoe County Republican Headquarters to be counted. The results of the Sun Valley Site are unknown, but Washoe County had a total of 15,521 voters cast a ballot, with 44.13% voting for Trump. Far more people voted this year than in 2012, when only 6,697 voters cast a ballot in Washoe County. This year’s total is the highest in the history of the county.

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