By the Numbers: Presidential Candidate Trips to Nevada in 2015

With both the Democratic and Republican debates in Nevada now in the rear view mirror and the end of 2015 quickly approaching, here’s an updated look at which presidential candidates have visited the state the most throughout 2015 (previous post here). Here’s a few takeaways from the data, available in full here.


What’s changed, what hasn’t:

Since I last wrote about this in late October, the total number of candidate trips has gone up from 55 to 83, buoyed in part by numerous events held this week around the Republican debate in Las Vegas.

Though that number is nothing to scoff at (#wematter), Nevada still pales in comparison to other early primary states: candidates made 313 trips to New Hampshire, 166 treks into South Carolina and 305 visits to Iowa, according to the handy National Journal presidential trip tracker.

As to why, this James Pindell story in the Boston Globe provides some answers, but in general a combination of state party disarray, distance from the East Coast and proximity to the bevy of states with March 1 contests leads to a certain candidate apathy around scheduling Nevada trips.

Las Vegas, unsurprisingly, leads pack:


I’ve also broken down which areas of Nevada received the most presidential campaign visits, and unsurprisingly the far and away leader is Las Vegas, with 67 total appearances including debates throughout the calendar year. Farther down the list is Reno with 18 trips, Carson City with eight and 13 trips to”Rural,” a catch-all term for Elko, Gardnerville, Ely, Mesquite, Pahrump, Yerington and Fallon.

If you’re wondering why Vegas is so far ahead of any other area, it’s not just because of the debates – the majority of the state’s population is centered there, and coupled with the remoteness and travel difficulties with rural areas makes it less attractive for candidates to stray far from Las Vegas.

Those that do are usually Republican, as candidates like Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and Rand Paul all have taken well-publicized trips to the remote corners of Nevada.

Who loves, ignores Nevada:

Tied at nine visits apiece, Republican candidates Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have made the most visits to the state throughout 2015. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders leads fellow candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley with six trips to her five and his four visits to the state.

Of the Republican candidates appearing on the main debate stage earlier this week, only John Kasich and Chris Christie have made two or fewer appearances in the state. Outside a canceled coffee shop appearance, the debate appearance and a trip to the state in June, Kasich has made few appearances in Nevada. Christie’s only public appearance in the state was the debate last week – his campaign remains laser-focused on New Hampshire and Iowa.

Notes: Multi-day visits are counted separately. I count debate appearances as candidate trips. If there’s any errors or issues with the data, please email me at


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