Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, takes national Democratic lead

Bernie Sanders has scored a resounding victory in Nevada’s presidential caucuses.

Posted: Feb 22, 2020 9:03 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Bernie Sanders scored a commanding victory in Nevada’s presidential caucuses on Saturday, cementing his status as the Democrats' national front-runner but escalating tensions over whether he’s too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump.

As Sanders celebrated, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg vied for second and Elizabeth Warren trailed further behind. They were all seeking any possible momentum heading into next-up South Carolina and then Super Tuesday on March 3.

Nevada's caucuses were the first chance for White House hopefuls to demonstrate appeal to a diverse group of voters in a state far more representative of the country as a whole than Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders, a 78-year Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist, won by rallying his fiercely loyal base and tapping into support from Nevada’s large Latino community.

In a show of confidence, Sanders left Nevada for Texas, which offers one of the biggest delegate troves in just 10 days on Super Tuesday.

“We are bringing our people together," he declared. “In Nevada we have just brought together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition which is not only going to win in Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country.”

Saturday's win built on Sanders’ victory earlier this month in the New Hampshire primary. He essentially tied for first place in the Iowa caucuses with Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has sought to position himself as an ideological counter to Sanders’ unabashedly progressive politics.

But for all the energy and attention devoted to the first three states, they award only a tiny fraction of the delegates needed to capture the nomination. After South Carolina, the contest becomes national in scope, putting a premium on candidates who have the resources to compete in states as large as California and Texas.

While Sanders' victory in Nevada encouraged his supporters, it only deepened concern among establishment-minded Democratic leaders who fear he is too extreme to defeat Trump. Sanders for decades has been calling for transformative policies to address inequities in politics and the economy, none bigger than his signature “Medicare for All” health care plan that would replace the private insurance system with a government-run universal program.

Trump gloated on social media, continuing his weeks-long push to sow discord between Sanders and his Democratic rivals.

“Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!”

Buttigieg congratulated Sanders, too, but then launched an aggressive verbal assault on the senator as too divisive.

“Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders in our one shot to take on this president, let’s take a sober look at what is at stake for our party, for our values and for those with so much to lose," he said. “Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.”

Biden also took aim at the Vermont senator as he claimed a success — but not a victory — in Nevada that would trigger a comeback.

Without naming names, he took a swipe at Sanders and billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who wasn't on the Nevada ballot but has emerged as a threat to Biden in contests that begin next month.

"I ain’t a socialist. I’m not a plutocrat. I’m a Democrat,” Biden declared.

Also in the fight: Warren, who desperately needed a spark to revive her stalled bid; billionaire Tom Steyer, who spent more than $12 million on Nevada television and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who hoped to prove her strong New Hampshire finish was no fluke.

Klobuchar, campaigning in her home state of Minnesota Saturday night, claimed Nevada success no matter her poor showing.

“As usual I think we have exceeded expectations,” she said.

The first presidential contest in the West tested the candidates' strength with black and Latino voters for the first time in 2020. Nevada’s population aligns more with the U.S. as a whole, compared with Iowa and New Hampshire: 29% Latino, 10% black and 9% Asian American and Pacific Islander.

Bloomberg, the former New York mayorwho dominated the political conversation this week after a poor debate-stage debut, wasn't on the ballot. He's betting everything on a series of delegate-rich states that begin voting next month.

The stakes were high for Nevada Democrats to avoid a repeat of the chaos in the still-unresolved Iowa caucuses, and it appeared Saturday’s contest was largely successful.

Unlike state primaries and the November election, which are run by government officials, caucuses are overseen by state parties.

Nevada Democrats sought to minimize problems by creating multiple redundancies in their reporting system, relying on results called in by phone, a paper worksheet filled out by caucus organizers, a photo of that worksheet sent in by text message and electronic results captured with a Google form.

In addition, it appeared Nevada Democrats were able to successfully navigate a complicated process for adding early voting to the caucus process. Nearly 75,000 people cast early ballots over a four-day period, and the party was able to process those in time for Saturday so they could be integrated into the in-person vote.

At the Bellagio casino caucus site, 41-year-old Christian Nielsen, a scuba diver for the Cirque du Soleil show “O,” said he backed Sanders because he believes the country needs a “major change in the White House.”

“We need somebody in the White House who has been on the right side of history for their entire career, somebody who stands with the working class, and will make things more fair for everybody,” Nielsen said.

The Democrats' 2020 nomination fight shifted beyond Nevada even before the final results were known.

Only Biden, Buttigieg and Steyer were still in the state when news of Sanders’ victory was announced.

Sanders and Klobuchar spent the night in Super Tuesday states, and Buttigieg was headed to a third, Virginia. Warren, who began Saturday in Las Vegas, was to finish the day in Washington state, which hosts its election on March 10 but has already begun offering early voting.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 542053

Reported Deaths: 7035
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1129221671
Ramsey46808847
Dakota41281414
Anoka37372413
Washington24322273
Stearns20596216
St. Louis16440296
Scott15511116
Wright14374124
Olmsted1258796
Sherburne1026779
Carver950443
Clay765889
Rice7432101
Blue Earth679340
Kandiyohi620379
Crow Wing594086
Chisago537648
Otter Tail533173
Benton520296
Mower446532
Winona435349
Douglas433270
Goodhue431271
Nobles396648
Morrison384559
McLeod382354
Beltrami366257
Isanti362259
Polk359166
Itasca358251
Steele348914
Becker345848
Lyon342648
Carlton323352
Freeborn320129
Pine306021
Nicollet299842
Brown290639
Mille Lacs271248
Le Sueur265422
Todd265430
Cass242426
Meeker228037
Waseca226820
Martin209629
Wabasha19793
Roseau194118
Dodge16824
Renville168043
Hubbard167841
Redwood163735
Houston161814
Cottonwood151820
Fillmore15069
Pennington148519
Chippewa143736
Faribault141719
Wadena140021
Sibley132710
Aitkin127036
Kanabec125821
Watonwan12429
Rock121018
Jackson114110
Yellow Medicine108419
Pipestone107425
Murray10149
Pope9926
Swift97518
Marshall84017
Stevens79610
Lake77819
Wilkin75612
Clearwater75514
Koochiching74912
Lac qui Parle73122
Big Stone5544
Lincoln5532
Grant5388
Norman5129
Mahnomen4898
Unassigned48178
Kittson44822
Red Lake3817
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods2932
Cook1440

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 355069

Reported Deaths: 5797
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55519598
Linn20164329
Scott18724234
Black Hawk15464306
Woodbury14787219
Johnson1386780
Dubuque13033202
Dallas1082296
Pottawattamie10621160
Story1024747
Warren548486
Clinton531189
Cerro Gordo519386
Webster505991
Sioux502973
Marshall476274
Muscatine454996
Des Moines439465
Wapello4246120
Buena Vista421140
Jasper406370
Plymouth393979
Lee366755
Marion353975
Jones292055
Henry285337
Bremer278260
Carroll277850
Crawford261139
Boone256431
Benton248955
Washington247849
Dickinson238743
Mahaska223349
Jackson217142
Kossuth211461
Clay208325
Tama206371
Delaware201039
Winneshiek192633
Page189020
Buchanan187331
Cedar182623
Fayette182641
Wright178735
Hardin178642
Hamilton177049
Harrison174673
Clayton165455
Butler161834
Mills157320
Cherokee156438
Floyd154542
Lyon153541
Poweshiek152133
Madison152019
Allamakee149051
Iowa144624
Hancock142734
Winnebago135331
Grundy134732
Cass133954
Calhoun133011
Jefferson130535
Emmet127140
Shelby126637
Louisa126149
Appanoose125847
Sac125719
Mitchell125241
Union123732
Chickasaw122015
Humboldt117926
Guthrie116728
Franklin112421
Palo Alto109622
Howard102622
Unassigned10030
Montgomery99737
Clarke98023
Keokuk94430
Monroe93228
Ida88533
Adair84032
Pocahontas83021
Monona80530
Davis79824
Greene76310
Lucas74822
Osceola73816
Worth7008
Taylor65012
Fremont60410
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