Confusion reigned at the evening caucus, which started hours after the state’s other caucuses closed, and where caucus-goers were asked to sign affidavits stating they weren’t able to vote earlier in the day due to religious reasons. What of Nevadans who weren’t able to caucus earlier in the day due to other reasons? The Las Vegas Review-Journal described it as a “raucous” caucus, and an Associated Press account captured the uncertainty and disorder there:

Stay-at-home mother Cindy Koogler, 33, said she tried to vote in the morning, but was turned away after arriving an hour late because she was caring for her young son. A [Ron] Paul supporter told her about the Saturday night caucus.

“When you have a kid and he’s in the middle of potty-training, you can’t take him with you,” she said of the morning vote.

Koogler said she signed the declaration saying she was a religious voter and was not questioned.

But one Paul supporter refused to go along with the ruse, saying Republican leaders were encouraging voters to perjure themselves and refusing to move from the head of the line as Jewish rabbis, families with young children and elderly voters patiently waited in line behind him to be allowed into the caucus location.

“People are lying as they are walking in,” the protester, high school teacher Stephen Melancon, yelled at organizers. “You are setting them up to lie.”

Clark County GOP chair David Gibbs said he wasn’t sure how officials would address the voters who weren’t actually there because of the Sabbath, adding that it was up to each person to tell the truth.

Sure, America’s still in the thick of the primary and caucus season. But November’s general election is a mere nine months off, and that isn’t a lot of time for Nevada Republicans to pull together the kind of organization they’ll need if they hope to turn this key state red. After covering the weekend circus, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Marinucci offered this summation:

Nevada state GOP chair Amy Tarkanian boasted this week that her state will turn Republican in the next presidential election. Not likely if her state GOP runs that show like it ran the Nevada caucuses…
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Jay Jones is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer who has covered political campaigns for various media outlets in the U.S. and for the BBC in the U.K.