- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - After wrapping up a 24-hour string of campaign events in Las Vegas Friday morning that included stops at two colleges, a Las Vegas Strip Mexican restaurant and a wedding chapel, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Lucy Flores said she was exhausted and her throat was sore.

But a few hours of sleep was likely the only break on tap for Flores, who faces a much better-funded Republican opponent and disappointing Democratic turnout during the two-week early voting period.

“I’m going to get a little bit of rest,” Flores said shortly after her 20th and final event of the blitz - a birthday cake for her at campaign headquarters. “Then I’m filming a spot for another commercial we’re running, and more campaigning, errands and meetings. We’re right back out.”

In the first five days of early voting, Democrats trailed Republicans by 11,560 among the 117,812 ballots cast through absentee or in-person early voting, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. That comes even though the state has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

The low turnout, which comes as Nevada lacks a competitive governor’s race, a Senate race or a presidential contest to rally voters, has nervous Democrats summoning reinforcements.

President Bill Clinton is scheduling a last-minute pre-election rally in Las Vegas on Tuesday, aimed to boost turnout for embattled Democrats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Friday it will open its wallet to help incumbent Rep. Steven Horsford, whose Nevada House district seemed safe until conservative group Crossroads GPS announced $820,000 in ads targeting his seat.

The spending eclipses the roughly $100,000 in airtime Horsford’s campaign had purchased for October. Horsford is being challenged by Republican Nevada Assemblyman Cresent Hardy.

Republicans, including Flores’ opponent Mark Hutchison, have also been rallying voters. Hutchison planned to go door-to-door with state senate candidates Patricia Farley and Becky Harris, who are locked in close contests that could decide the balance of power in the Nevada Senate. A rally and voting event was scheduled Saturday, according to Hutchison’s campaign manager, Jeremy Hughes.

Flores said there were touching moments during her grueling campaign blitz, including casino dealers who came out to meet her at 4 a.m. after their graveyard shifts and paramedics who greeted her at midnight with birthday cupcakes.

But she said her visits to colleges gave her a sense of the obstacles that keep voters - especially young ones - from the polls. Students she met told her they weren’t watching the commercials flooding airwaves, and didn’t feel the candidates addressed the issues they were facing in their daily lives.

“I think it’s going to take hard work,” Flores said. “I’m ultimately making sure that I’m paying attention to every last vote.”

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