Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | 1:59 p.m.
Democrats outpaced their Republican rivals last month in the race to register new voters in the run-up to this year’s presidential election.
And Nevadans continued their trend of deciding against casting their lot with either political party.
According to numbers released today by the secretary of state, Democrats registered 2,544 voters in March, while Republicans added only 954 voters to their ranks. Nearly 2,050 voter registered nonpartisan last month.
March was the first month this year, however, that Democrats registered more voters than Republicans, who saw a burst of registration activity just before the presidential caucuses in February.
Still, the numbers disappointed Republicans, who blamed the lack of activity on the “transitional” status of the Nevada Republican Party.
The poor numbers come despite a statewide voter registration and canvassing push on the first Saturday in March, an event touted by Republican officials as an example of GOP enthusiasm.
The state party has long lagged Democrats in organizational capacity, fundraising and voter registration. The party is beset by infighting amongst various factions and a lack of strong leadership.
The party’s chairwoman, Amy Tarkanian, resigned last month to help her husband, Danny Tarkanian, campaign for Congress. She had been chairwoman less than a year, replacing Mark Amodei, who cut his tenure as chairman short because of a congressional run.
Democrats have maintained a well-oiled turnout machine since 2008 and have a head start on Republicans this year. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has been organizing in Nevada for months, while Republicans continue to wage a primary battle, preventing the eventual nominee from sinking resources into the battleground state early.
Obama’s campaign already has nine field offices open in Nevada.
A national Republican official said the Republican National Committee will soon have a more active presence in Nevada. It is expected to open a campaign office in May and will soon announce it has hired a state campaign director.
The official sought to marginalize the Democrats’ numbers.
“Obama has several field offices open,” he said. “The fact that they only registered 2,500 new voters is kind of interesting. If they’re pouring so many resources into it, why aren’t they registering more voters? It’s clear why the GOP didn’t register very many last month.”
In January and February, Republicans registered 3,770 more voters than Democrats.
Statewide, Democrats now have 41 percent of registered voters and Republicans have 37 percent. Nonpartisans make up 16 percent of the Nevada electorate.