Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama to win the Democratic caucuses in Nevada on Saturday, getting 51 percent of the vote compared to Obama’s 45 (and John Edwards‘ dismal 4). The economy was the top concern among Nevada voters surveyed, but the environment may have played a role too. Clinton tried to gain an edge in the state by touting her pledge to shut down the embattled Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site, which is under construction 90 miles from Las Vegas. Obama too opposes Yucca Mountain, but Clinton raised questions about his commitment by pointing out that he’s gotten a number of campaign donations from employees of Exelon, a major nuclear company that supports the waste dump. (Of course, Clinton’s got nuclear industry donors of her own who also want Yucca’s doors open.) Now it’s on to South Carolina, where the Democratic primary will be held on Jan. 26.
The Republican primary in South Carolina came a week ahead of the Democratic one, and John McCain took the prize, besting second-place finisher Mike Huckabee. In Nevada, Mitt Romney was the decisive victor of the GOP caucuses. The next important Republican contest is the Jan. 29 primary in Florida, where green issues are big with voters (just ask the state’s governor, Republican Charlie Crist).
Find out more about the presidential contenders’ environmental stances in Grist’s special series, “How Green Is Your Candidate?“