Most Democratic presidential candidates headed for Nevada

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - While many Nevada Democrats were
disappointed with a failed U.S. Senate effort Saturday to oppose a
military buildup in Iraq, the Senate's adjournment after that
effort ensured appearances by most major Democratic presidential
hopefuls at a forum here on Wednesday.
"We're on track. It will happen," state Democratic Party
spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said following word from Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that he'll no longer press for an
anti-buildup resolution and instead will seek legislation designed
to force the Bush administration to change course in Iraq.
There was concern that efforts to break the gridlock over the
Iraq resolution might keep the Senate in session and prevent
Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Joe Biden of
Delaware or Chris Dodd of Connecticut from attending the
candidates' forum in Carson City. But Reid, also headed to Carson
City, adjourned the Senate until Feb. 26.
Besides Clinton, Biden and Dodd, other Democrats who have
confirmed their participation include former vice presidential
candidate John Edwards, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, New Mexico
Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and former
Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.
Sen. Barack Obama is skipping the forum, the first such
candidates forum of the 2008 presidential campaign. He was
scheduled to be in southern Nevada on Sunday but couldn't work the
northern Nevada event into his itinerary, an aide said.
Besides the forum, the candidates are planning to attend several
other events while in Nevada - especially Biden who will be at a
Democrat dinner Monday in Reno, travel to Carson City on Tuesday to
meet with state lawmakers and attend a public reception, and return
to Reno for a Tuesday night event.
On Wednesday, before the forum starts, most of the candidates
have meetings scheduled with state legislators, and also plan brief
appearances at a $2,500-a-head fund-raiser to benefit the state
Democratic Party.
The forum is being held at the local community center but most
of the seats went to members of the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees union that joined with the state
party in sponsoring the event.
To handle demand for more seating, the party set up a separate
event at the local Nevada Appeal newspaper office. People there can
watch the forum speeches via a televised feed. C-SPAN also plans to
provide live coverage, Searer said.
Richardson plans to stop by the event at the Appeal prior to the
forum, and some of the other candidates are expected to show up
there immediately after the forum.
A similar forum is scheduled March 24 in Las Vegas. Another one
is planned for August in Reno, although no date has been set yet.
Nevada is getting all the attention because, for the first time,
its Democratic presidential caucus will be held on Jan. 19, between
Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus and the New Hampshire primary in
early 2008.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)