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Mormon influence in Nevada politics fading, but still a factor

Published: Friday, July 6 2012 5:05 p.m. MDT

In this May 22, 2012, photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks to reporters at the Capitol following a political strategy meeting, in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

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CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby writes that while Nevada's rapid population growth has diluted Mormon influence on elections, GOP strategists hope that LDS vote will be enough to tip tight election:

In 1986, with control of the United States Senate up for grabs, The Economist dispatched a reporter to Nevada, an important battleground that year, to survey the race between then-Rep. Harry Reid and his Republican opponent, James Santini.

"Mr. Reid's performance in Las Vegas could well turn on the Mormon vote," the correspondent noted, spotlighting Reid's religion. "Though only some 12% of Nevadans are Mormons, they punch more than their weight. Less than half the state's eligible voters bother to register, but Mormons almost always do, which gives them about a quarter of the likely turnout."

Members of The Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints still punch more than their weight in Nevada politics, holding a broad array of elected offices and deep sway within the business community.

Read more about Mormon influence in Nevada fading, but still a factor on CNN.

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