"I want to be the first candidate for president who has accepted invitations to Nevada's two debates; the first one (Feb. 21) in Carson City and the health care forum in Las Vegas" on March 24, Richardson told a crowd of about 50 supporters at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
"I'm not after big-name endorsements, just votes," Richardson said.
"Nevada is going to be a critically important state because of its early caucus. I'm going to campaign very hard, door to door. I'm after voters, not big endorsements," he added.
"I'm a fellow Westerner," he said. "The main issues today require someone with the background and heart, and I believe I have the best qualifications."
Richardson said he's proud of his heritage but is not running as a Hispanic in a state that is nearly 23 percent Hispanic.
"I think it's a growing population, and I'll fight for every vote," he said.