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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, CBS News projects

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Bernie Sanders holds victory rally after winning Nevada caucuses 22:09

Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses, CBS News projects, a victory that adds to his momentum in the field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

Sanders, coming off a victory in New Hampshire and a lead in the popular vote in Iowa, dominated with several key demographics. He had a big lead among voters under 45 and Latino voters, with more than 50% support. He won 49% support from both independent voters and very liberal ones.

Even among moderate voters, he trailed Joe Biden only slightly. Biden had 23% of moderate voters to Sanders' 22%, trailed by Pete Buttigieg at 21%, Amy Klobuchar at 14%, Tom Steyer at 10% and Elizabeth Warren at 6%.

One in 5 caucus-goers were Latinos, and Sanders led with 53% of them. Biden followed at 16%, Buttigieg at 9%, Steyer at 8%, Warren at 7% and Klobuchar at 4%.

By Saturday night, Sanders had already moved on to Texas, which votes on Super Tuesday on March 3. He gave a speech earlier Saturday in El Paso and delivered his victory speech at a rally in San Antonio.

"No campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is another reason why we're going to win this election," Sanders said at a speech in San Antonio. "The American people are sick and tired of a government which is based on greed, corruption and lies."


Trump congratulates Sanders on Nevada victory

President Trump offered congratulations to Bernie Sanders on Sunday for winning the Nevada caucuses, calling it a "great win." 
"He had a great victory yesterday," the president told reporters at the White House before departing for India.
Mr. Trump accused Democrats of treating Sanders, a senator from Vermont, "very unfairly."
"I don't care who I run against, I just hope they treat him fairly," he said. "I hope it's not going to be a rigged deal."

By Melissa Quinn

Sanders: "We have now won the Nevada caucus!"

Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders Campaigns In Texas
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane Sanders wave as they exit the stage after winning the Nevada caucuses during a campaign rally at Cowboys Dancehall on February 22, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. Getty

A triumphant Sanders addressed a crowd in Texas shortly after 8 p.m. to tout his second consecutive win, announcing to a jubilant crowd, "We have now won the Nevada caucus!" Sanders praised the "multi-generational, multi-racial coalition" that catapulted him to a victory in Nevada, saying that coalition would also lead him to defeat Mr. Trump in the general election.

Sanders noted that he won the popular vote in Iowa, as well as New Hampshire primary and now the Nevada caucuses, making him the undisputed front-runner going into South Carolina.

"No campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is another reason why we're going to win this election," Sanders said.

"The American people are sick and tired of a government which is based on greed, corruption and lies," Sanders continued, claiming that his own campaign is based on justice.

Sanders emphasized the priorities of his campaign, in particular, implementing his signature single-payer health care proposal, Medicare for All. A majority of Nevada voters said health care was the most important issue for them, according to CBS News entrance polls, and about 6 in 10 support a government health care plan that would replace private insurance.

By Grace Segers

Buttigieg says Democrats need to assess before a "rush" to nominate Sanders

After Sanders' Nevada victory, Buttigieg warns Democrats not to "rush" to nomination 16:21

After taking the stage in Las Vegas, Buttigieg was blunt in expressing concerns about the possible nomination of Sanders. The former Indiana mayor questioned his ability to beat Mr. Trump, and contrasted his own more moderate vision with Sanders' extremely liberal vision. 

"Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders as our own shot to take on this president … let us take a sober look at what is at stake," Buttigieg said. 

Buttigieg said Sanders vision doesn't reflect the beliefs of most Democrats, "not to mention most Americans." 

The Democratic Party must be more inclusive, not more exclusive, Buttigieg said. 

By Kathryn Watson

Trump campaign revels in Sanders' win as "leader of the leftist pack"

The Trump campaign made one thing clear in a statement: It is delighted Sanders is projected to win Nevada. The campaign has been using Sanders' bid to contrast capitalism with democratic socialism for more than a year.

"Media reports of unstaffed caucus sites in Nevada just prove that the national Democrat Party is in chaos and incompetent," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. "Even with that mess, there is no denying that Big Government Socialism dominated again as Bernie Sanders remained the leader of the leftist pack. We are another day closer to Election Day and another day closer to re-electing President Trump."

By Kathryn Watson

Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, CBS News projects

CBS News projects Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses 00:35

CBS News projects Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada caucuses. 


Biden says he's going to "take back" the Democratic nomination

Joe Biden, as Sanders takes commanding lead in Nevada: "I plan on coming back" 10:44

Speaking to supporters in Las Vegas, Biden was confident that he would win the South Carolina primary next Saturday.

"Now we're going to go to South Carolina and win and then we're going to take this back," Biden said. He also vowed to return and win Nevada in the general election in November.

"I know we don't have the final results yet, but I feel good," Biden said about the results of the Nevada caucuses. He slammed the press for being ready to declare his candidacy "dead," saying, "We're alive, and we're coming back, and we're going to win."

He also took a swipe at Sanders and Bloomberg, saying: "I ain't a socialist, I'm not a plutocrat, I'm a Democrat."

Biden's campaign manager, Greg Schultz, tweeted, "Biden will come in a strong second" in Nevada, leading among African-Americans, voters over 65 and people who are opposed to Medicare for All.

By Grace Segers

Klobuchar says she's "exceeded expectations" all along

Amy Klobuchar tells supporters she has "exceeded expectations" as Nevada results trickle in 15:28

Klobuchar, speaking at a rally in Minneapolis as Nevada results rolled in, said she thinks she's "exceeded expectations." The Minnesota senator said people have been doubting her since she announced her candidacy outside in the middle of a snowstorm. 

She's heading to South Carolina next, but is making stops first in North Dakota and Arkansas. She gave no indication she plans to leave the race anytime soon. 

Klobcuhar emphasized her "toughness" and ability to defeat the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Some people, she said, think the way to beat President Trump is to be as divisive as he is, a clear jab at her more liberal Democratic opponents like Sanders. 

"There is something else that I've been fighting for, and that is to bring heart back to the White House," Klobuchar said, adding that "decency" has been "under siege" in the White House. 

By Kathryn Watson

Nevada GOP binds delegates to Trump

As expected, the Nevada GOP voted to bind its delegates to the president, voting by acclamation. The Nevada Republican Party canceled its caucuses, which would have taken place on Saturday.
"Nevada Republicans are all in on President Trump," Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald said in a statement. "I want to thank Brad Parscale for joining us in Pahrump. Our vote by acclamation to endorse the President and bind our delegates to him sends a strong, unified message that we are ready to fight and deliver our state for President Trump against whichever socialist the other side nominates."

The president took to Twitter as the results were being counted to praise "Crazy Bernie" Sanders' performance.

"Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates. Congratulations Bernie, & don't let them take it away from you!" the president tweeted.

— Alex Tin and Kathryn Watson

By Kathryn Watson

Sanders continues to hold commanding lead in final choice

Bernie Sanders has commanding lead in Nevada caucuses 03:12

With 9% of precincts reporting so far, Sanders holds a commanding lead as the final choice for caucus goers — 42.2% of caucus goers ultimately picked him. Biden follows, with 18.8% of caucus goers making him their final pick. Buttigieg has 15.6%; Warren has 11%; and Klobuchar has 7.6%. 

By Kathryn Watson

Sanders winning independents by large margin

On initial preference, Sanders is currently winning independents by a large margin, according to entrance polls. 
He also has a lead – albeit a smaller one – among self-identified Democrats.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Sanders leads among men and women in initial preference

Sanders is currently leading among both men and women in initial preference, according to entrance polls.

But there is a generational divide. Fifty-six percent of women under age 45 support Sanders, while older women – those age 45 and over — are divided among the rest of the candidates: Biden 19%, Sanders 18%, Klobuchar 16%, Buttigieg 15%, Warren 14%, Steyer 12%.

The age divide is similar among men. Sanders is performing really well among men under age 45. And among men age 45 and over, there is also division, though Sanders has the edge:  Sanders 24%, Biden 21% and Buttigieg 18%.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Nevada governor says he's "confident" there will be caucus results Saturday night

Nevada governor says he's "confident" there will be caucus results Saturday night 04:03

A volunteer counts votes

A volunteer counts votes during the Nevada caucuses to nominate a Democratic presidential candidate at the caucus polling station inside the Coronado High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 22, 2020.  Getty

Most Sanders voters decided to support him before February

On initial preference, 75% of voters who supported Sanders decided on him as their choice before February. Most of Biden's supporters also chose to support him before February.

However, Buttigieg and Klobuchar may have picked up some traction since the Iowa and New Hampshire contests.

Fifty-five percent of Buttigieg voters and 68% of Klobuchar supporters decided on their candidate this month.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Sanders gets strong support from non-white voters and first-time voters in entrance polls

Sanders' support is strong among non-white voters, and among first-time caucus-goers, according to entrance polling. 

Among non-white caucus-goers, 44% support Sanders, compared with 20% who support Biden and 11% who support Steyer.

Among first-time caucus goers, 39% support Sanders, 16% support Buttigieg, and 12% support Biden. 

— Kabir Khanna and Kathryn Watson 


CBS News' Ed O'Keefe discusses how the caucus process works

Bernie Sanders leads in initial preference of voters entering Nevada caucuses 05:06

Over a third of voters in Nevada caucuses under 45

CBS News

A significant portion of voters in the Nevada caucuses comprise younger voters, according to CBS News entrance polls. Here's the breakdown by age:

  • 17 to 29: 17% 
  • 30 to 44: 21%  
  • 45 to 64: 35%
  • 65+: 27%

Sanders seems to be earning support from younger voters in particular.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Breaking down what to expect in the Nevada caucus results

Breaking down what to expect in Saturday's Nevada caucuses 04:08

CBS News director of election and surveys Anthony Salvanto joins CBSN to discuss caucus entrance polling. 


8 in 10 young voters support government health care

Heading into the caucuses, Latinos were especially likely to say they support a government health care plan that would replace private insurance – 78% currently, an even greater share than the more than the 63% of caucus-goers overall.

Health care was also the top concern of Latino voters.

Young voters (those under 30 years of age) are more likely than any other age group to support a government health care plan that would replace private insurance – about 8 in 10 said they do.

Seniors are divided on this with roughly half supporting it and half opposing it.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Voters who prioritize agreeing on issues over defeating Trump support Sanders

CBS News

Most caucus-goers want a nominee who can beat President Trump in November — 64%. Thirty-four percent want a candidate who agrees with them on issues, according to early entrance polling.

But the voters who do prioritize agreement on issues over electability are for Sanders (57%). His lead is smaller among those who say defeating Mr. Trump is the priority. Here, Sanders has 23% support, Biden 19% and Buttigieg has 17%.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Majority of younger voters supported Sanders in initial preference

CBS News

Sanders' lead in initial preference is bolstered by strong support by younger voters. He continues to do well among voters under 30. About two-thirds back him in their initial preference.

Among seniors, it's a tighter race: Biden has an edge (27%) over Klobuchar (20%).

The former vice president is currently attracting the support of those who pick health care as their top issue with almost four in 10 voters backing him.

Voters who prioritize issue agreement over electability are for Sanders (57%). His lead is smaller among those who say defeating Trump is a priority: Sanders 23%, Biden 19% and Buttigieg 17%.

About half of voters are participating in a Democratic caucus for the first time, and Sanders is ahead among them. These first-time caucus-goers are younger than those who have attended a caucus before.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Entrance polls show liberals are backing Sanders, while moderates are dividing support

The divide between liberal and moderate voters seen in early contests is evident again in Nevada. 

On initial preference, liberals are backing Sanders – getting roughly 40% support – while moderates are dividing their support among Biden, Buttigieg and Sanders.

Hispanics currently make up 18% of caucus-goers, and roughly half are backing Sanders, helping boost his support.

About a quarter of caucus goers live in union households. On initial preference, Sanders leads with them with more than a third of the vote, followed by Biden with 19%.

A majority of those in union households, about six in 10, say they support a government health plan that would replace private insurance – similar to caucus-goers overall.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Sanders leads in initial preference

Bernie Sanders is leading by a large margin in the initial preference of caucus-goers entering the caucus, according to CBS News entrance polls.


Caucusing begins

A Bellagio hotel worker holds a Bernie placard before caucusing at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 22, 2020. Getty

Caucusing has officially begun in Nevada. First off, voters must self-sort according to their top candidate. 

How long the entire process will take is unclear, and will differ by precinct and site. 


Tom Perez says Nevada is "on pace to set a record" for turnout

DNC chair Tom Perez said the Silver State is "on pace to set a record" for turnout in the state's caucus history.

Perez told reporters in Las Vegas that he's excited to be in Nevada because it's "the first state that has the diversity and scale that is America."
Asked about the role of caucuses in future presidential cycles, Perez pledged to "work hard to make sure we have a conversation as a DNC about the continuing role of caucuses." He noted as he has in recent days that there were 14 caucus states in 2016 and just 7 in 2020, but you can't "wave a magic wand" to force states into primaries because it requires passage of a state law. He said some GOP governors have refused to support such laws.
The value and reliability of caucusing has been called into question after the Iowa caucuses ended in disaster, without any results on caucus day. 
But Perez also projected confidence about training for caucus volunteers, saying, "We were training people as late as yesterday. We held over 1,000 trainings for over 3,000 folks. Folks who didn't feel good, sufficiently trained, we trained them again and again and again, because we understand that we have — we have to make it work."

By Rebecca Kaplan

Health care the top issue for Nevada voters, entrance poll shows


Based on early entrance poll results, health care was the top issue on the minds of Nevada caucus voters — more than 4 in 10 picked it, followed by climate change (roughly a quarter of voters) followed by income inequality and foreign policy. 

About 6 in 10 caucus-goers polled support replacing all private insurance with a single government plan — similar to support in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Despite the problems reporting caucus results in Iowa, 8 in 10 Nevada Democratic caucus-goers are confident the votes cast in Nevada will be counted correctly.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Nevada governor voices confidence results will come in tonight

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, talked with Caitlin Huey-Burns on CBSN just before the caucuses were to begin.

Asked about whether Nevada would be able to avoid the delays that Iowa experienced, he expressed confidence in the state Democratic party, telling Huey-Burns, "I'm confident they've got a good plan in place," and " I'm confident we'll have a result tonight."

He did note that the weather could be an obstacle — though it's usually pretty dry in Nevada, it's raining today. 


"Deficit of volunteers" is delaying start of Nevada Caucus at some sites

A "deficit of volunteers" at some caucus sites is complicating the early hours of Nevada's Democratic caucuses, party leaders told presidential campaigns on Saturday.

Aides to two campaigns tell CBS News that the lack of volunteers to oversee caucuses has occurred at multiple locations, including a location in Pahrump, Nevada, JG Johnson Elementary School, where the precinct chairman did not show up this morning, and participants have yet to be checked in.

Campaigns have been offered the opportunity to provide the state party with the volunteers necessary to run the caucuses, according to the sources familiar with the situation. A similar dearth of volunteers occurred at some early-voting locations over the past week, causing delays for voters.

It is not unheard of for supporters of a specific campaign to act as a caucus chairman or volunteer to help run a caucus, but they likely have not undergone the extensive training needed to understand the new vote tabulation system. These new volunteers also would not have yet taken the required neutrality pledges.

Before Saturday, at least 75,000 Nevadans had participated in the caucus early, nearly as many people who participated in the 2016 caucus.

The Nevada State Democratic Party said Saturday that more than 10,000 Nevadans had registered to vote as Democrats to participate during the four-day early voting period. Previously, the state party had said that the majority of early voters were first-time caucus-goers in Nevada.

Ed O'Keefe and Alex Tin


10,000 more Nevadans registered as Democrats during early voting

The Nevada Democratic Party announced Saturday that 10,000 more people had registered as Democrats during the early voting period from February 15 to 18.

"Over the course of four days of early voting, nearly 75,000 Nevadans turned out to participate in the caucus. Thanks to same-day voter registration, the caucus has already significantly grown the Democratic voter registration advantage over Republicans in Nevada — again — ahead of the 2020 general election," the party said in a statement.

By Grace Segers

How do the Nevada caucuses work?

The state Democratic Party held early voting, which ended Tuesday, and will be holding caucuses across the state Saturday. Caucus sites are available on the Las Vegas Strip for shift workers, too.

Businesses in Las Vegas employ a large number of Nevada voters, so the so-called "strip caucuses" allow workers who may not be able to make it to a precinct caucus to still participate in a caucus closer to their places of work. Like the traditional caucuses, the strip caucuses will occur on February 22. 

In the traditional caucuses, which will take place in over 250 locations across Nevada, participants will fill out a presidential preference card with their first choice for president. If your first-choice candidate doesn't attract a certain threshold of support from the caucus-goers (which is known as reaching the "viability threshold"), you can "realign," that is, pick another candidate who already has the minimum support necessary or join other voters to help someone else become viable.  

The early votes will be added to the mix during the first vote tally. After the initial tally, any supporters who received less than a certain threshold for the vote will be eliminated, and voters can shift to different candidates. This is where the ranked-choice voting comes in: for those early voters, the second and third preferences will be taken into account if their first preference falls short of the threshold and is "nonviable."

To win delegates, a candidate must meet the viability threshold in the precinct caucuses. For precincts electing four or more delegates, the threshold is 15%. For those electing two delegates, the threshold is 25%. For those electing three delegates, the threshold should be one-sixth of the attendees. 

The Nevada Democratic Party will load raw early vote totals by candidate for each precinct using a secure tabulation method. Precinct chairs will receive iPads that are pre-loaded with the new tool to tabulate the vote. To determine viability in each precinct, the chair will add the total number of in-person attendees to the total number of early vote participants to determine viability.

By Grace Segers

What to watch for in the results

Nevada matters for all the candidates, but it will be key for former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden faltered in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he may need to place high, to prove to African-American voters in South Carolina that he's a sufficiently strong candidate they should support next week. 

A strong first-place finish for Sanders could easily boost him in South Carolina and for Super Tuesday. Bloomberg is not on the ballot in Nevada, since he chose to skip the early-voting states.

Nevada is challenging to poll, so there could easily be some surprises in the mix. 

By Kathryn Watson

Health care the top concern for Nevada's Culinary Workers Union

Almost 15 percent of workers in Nevada belong to labor unions, making the organizations prominent in state politics. The Nevada Culinary Workers Union, one of the most powerful forces, has 60,000 members — over half of them Latino — and represents most hospitality workers on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Health care is the union's top concern going into the presidential election and the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. Members went on strike for over six years to win enviable health care coverage. Many members worry their health insurance could be threatened by Medicare for All, the single-payer plan that is Bernie Sanders' signature issue. The union has distributed flyers warning that Medicare for All plans would threaten members' current coverage. 

Nevada has one of the worst health care systems in the country, according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund. The state was ranked last in the nation for prevention and treatment, and second to last for access and affordability.

Read more about Nevada voters and health care here


Nevada Democrats to caucus workers: "Don't make early dinner plans"

An organizer for the Nevada Democratic Party advised caucus workers and volunteers during a training call on Tuesday: "Don't make early dinner plans in case things go a bit longer." The meeting was billed as a "Caucus Refresher Session" webinar for workers, though the registration link was accessible to the public. 

During the training session joined by CBS News, the trainer shared slides detailing the process for tabulating votes on an iPad and submitting results through a phone line. "Never go home and try to mail it," the trainer advised. "We need these results ASAP." 

A 177-page presentation included background information about the Nevada caucuses, election-day protocols for precinct workers, and instructions about how to use the caucus calculator, the tool precinct leaders will use to tabulate and report local caucus results.

Read more about the caucus tool here

By Dan Patterson
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