DOUGLAS COUNTY, NV - In many respects, the 2008 Presidential campaign really began the night of February 21, 2007 as 8 Democratic candidates gathered for a forum on a Carson City stage.
It was the first nationally-televised event of that campaign and it announced Nevada's arrival as a player in presidential politics with an early place in the primary caucus schedule.
We've seen a lot of candidate visits since then, but it was the last time this many appeared before a Nevada audience at once, at least until now.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is inviting the full crowd of Republican candidates to a barbeque on a Gardnerville ranch August 15.
A plate of roast lamb with a side of retail politics, a dish he thinks candidates and voters shouldn't pass up.
"Nevada's easily winnable by any candidate," he says. "There really is no front runner and just trying to get them to come here, come meet our voters, that's certainly one of our big motivations."
So far five have sent their RSVP's: Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, former Governor George Pataki and Governor Scott Walker.
That leaves the marquee short of the likes of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul, but it's a lineup with enough star power, Laxalt hopes, to attract the Republican faithful from across the state.
"We want to match voters with candidates," he says. "That's got to be the hardest thing in politics right now, for actual everyday voters to meet presidential candidates, look them in the eye, be able to shake their hand, and ask them a few questions. That's the goal of this event."
And he says with a big slate of candidates to winnow down, Nevada's early caucus could play a significant role in determining the outcome.
"We have the opportunity to pick the Republican representative for the country."
Laxalt wants to make this lamb fry a yearly event. He notes other states have what he calls "anchor events," a place on the campaign calendar with an annual draw.
If he can do that it would also raise his national and state profile.