Nevada Dems Like Kerry's Choice Of Edwards

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More than half of Nevada's Democratic National Convention delegates wanted Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to pick former rival John Edwards as his running mate - and those who were undecided quickly signaled their support Tuesday.

A survey by The Associated Press of the 32 DNC delegates from Nevada in advance of Kerry's selection Tuesday showed 18 wanted Edwards while three liked Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, three favored New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, two backed Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, one wanted retired Gen. Wesley Clark and five were undecided.

"It's going to create a whole new dynamic at the national convention," said Pam duPre of Reno, one of the undecided delegates until Tuesday. "John Edwards just exudes a level of energy and enthusiasm and optimism that has widespread appeal."

"John Edwards can appeal to the working- and middle-class voters, and Dick Cheney doesn't even know we exist," she added.

Delegate Emma Rubalcava-Micelli of Las Vegas, had expressed early support for Edwards, noting his experience as a U.S. senator, his opposition to corporate takeovers - and adding that he ran second behind Kerry in the Democratic caucuses and primaries earlier this year.

Superdelegate Yvonne Atkinson-Gates of Las Vegas, who also expressed early support for the North Carolina senator as Kerry's pick, said the move will "probably help us out in the South quite a bit. He has that Southern constituency that will hopefully help us win the presidency back."

Delegate Chris Wicker of Reno, another early Edwards supporter, described him as "very knowledgeable on the issues - and he's somebody you can envision as being president if Kerry serves four or eight years and then Edwards can come into his own after that."

Delegate Jeanne Maust of Las Vegas was one of the three delegates who wanted Kerry to pick McCain even after McCain had rejected Kerry's overtures to be No. 2 on the Democratic ticket. "It would bring us support from people we don't have now," she said.

Delegates who liked Richardson included Brian Hutchinson of Reno, who described Richardson as a moderate who would appeal to the Hispanic community as well as to potential swing voters.

Delegates who favored Gephardt included former Rep. Jim Bilbray of Las Vegas, who said he had served with Gephardt in Congress, knew him well and saw him as an "outstanding" vice president.

Randy Soltero of Las Vegas was the only delegate to favor Clark as vice president. "Given the situation in Iraq, we should go with the general.," he said. "As vice president he could take care of the war and President Kerry could run this country and get us back to where we need to be."

The Kerry-Edwards ticket will be nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, which begins July 26.