Democrats caucus in Nebraska on Saturday, playing a bigger role in the presidential sweepstakes than at first thought.
Nebraska is no afterthought for Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
In fact, Sanders has scheduled a visit to Nebraska today. The Senator from Vermont will speak at the Lied Center in Lincoln; the highlight of a political rally which begins at 12:30pm.
The daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, has visited the state on behalf of her mother’s campaign.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Political Science professor John Hibbing says such visits can make a difference, because Nebraskans, like everyone, want to believe they matter in this presidential race.
“If they have a sense that a candidate is really trying by visiting him or herself or by sending surrogates, I think that can mean something,” Hibbing tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I’m not sure it’s going to turn the tide completely, but I think that’s a factor.”
Nebraska is a bit player in the Democrats’ national convention, contributing only 30 delegates to the total of 4,780. Yet, the state is more than a bit player in the Democratic primary. Hibbing says perception might play the biggest role as Sanders looks for wins and Clinton looks to solidify her front-runner status on the heels of her Super Tuesday wins.
“But the Democrats turned out to do a pretty good job in Nebraska of timing this well,” Hibbing says. “I think we would have been lost in the shuffle on Super Tuesday and if we’d gone much later in the process things may have been decided. So, at least the timing makes it interesting.”
The caucus will decide the role played by 25 delegates. Five of the 30 Nebraska Democratic delegates are so-called super delegates, with three already pledged to Clinton and two undecided.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]