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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Nevada readies for caucuses — here's what to know

Sanders campaigns in Nevada; Bloomberg in Super Tuesday states

In just over a week, Nevada will be the third state to hold a primary contest on Saturday, February 22, but voters in the Silver State will have the opportunity to choose their candidates during a round of early voting starting tomorrow, February 15 through February 18. 

Like Iowa, Nevada voters choose their preferred primary candidate through caucuses. However, there are some key differences between the two contests, and Nevada will be looking to prove it can competently carry out a caucus process after the Iowa Democratic Party's mayhem this year, report CBS News campaign reporter Alex TinCBS News Political Unit AP Ellee Watson, and CBSNews.com politics reporter Grace Segers.

Candidates' performance in the state's four congressional districts will determine the 23 district-level delegates, and their statewide results will determine how many of the 11 at-large and "pledged elected official" delegates they receive. In total, Nevada sends 48 delegates and 3 alternates to the Democratic National Convention in the summer.

If you're going to be caucusing in Nevada or just interested in the process, here's how it works.

STATE-BY-STATE

NEVADA

The Nevada Democratic Veterans and Military Families Caucus thanked four candidates currently in the race — Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, and Tom Steyer —  in a post Friday for having "visited us and freely spoke with our Veterans and Military Families at roundtables and town halls,"  reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. Elizabeth Warren, the group said, invited selected members "to a small round-robin event where she lectured us on her military housing policy." 

The group says two other candidates in the race — Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden — shunned their invitations to meet directly, having "either never responded, responded by sending surrogates, or committed to meeting and then canceling." One of those surrogate events happened just last week, when Khizr Khan met with the group in Las Vegas on behalf of Biden. 

ON THE DEBATE STAGE

The Democratic National Committee announced Friday the 11th Democratic presidential primary debate will take place in Phoenix, Arizona in partnership with the CHC BOLD, which is the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

The debate is scheduled for Sunday, March 15, two days before the state's March 17th Democratic primary, reports CBS News Political Unit AP Sarah Ewall-Wice. It'll be hosted by CNN and Univision.

Debate moderators and qualifications will be announced at a later date. Two other debates are still in the works, too. The DNC has a debate scheduled for February 19 in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucuses on February 22. CBS News will also be hosting a debate in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 25, ahead of the state's primary on February 29. Democrats seek to turn Arizona from a historically red state to blue. In 2018, Arizona elected Kyrsten Sinema to the Senate, making her the first Democratic senator to represent the state since the 1970s.  

CONGRESSIONAL CONTESTS

IN THE HOUSE

While the political world waits to see the impacts Super Tuesday could have on the presidential race down the ballot competitive House primaries are ramping up the attacks in their ads, says CBS News Political Unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro

The Democratic primary in Texas' 28th District between progressive Jessica Cisneros and incumbent Congressman Henry Cuellar, a more conservative leaning, "Blue Dog" Democrat, mirrors the debate about how wide the political spectrum can be for today's Democratic party. 

Cisneros has received the support of progressive juggernauts like Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and one of her latest ads portrays Cuellar as Mr. Trump's "favorite Democrat" due to his previous votes on the border wall. 

Cuellar says Cisneros is fueled by out-of-state money and that she wants to shut down the oil and gas industry. Even the groups backing the candidates continue to show the ideological divides among the two candidates and their potential voter groups. In addition to Sanders, former presidential candidate Julian Castro and multiple Texas labor unions announced their endorsements of Cisneros on Thursday, while Cuellar received the backing of the LIBRE Initiative Action nonprofit, an outreach group that's part of the Koch's conservative political network.

In California, the Republican primary in the state's 50th District has turned into a battle of who can "out Trump" the other. Darrell Issa, a former congressman that represented the neighboring 49th District, is facing Carl DeMaio, a conservative talk show host and former San Diego City Councilman. DeMaio has been consistently attacking Issa for his past comments of calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections, and in a new ad, ties Issa to Senator Mitt Romney's "Yes" vote on impeachment. 

In a release, DeMaio's campaign portrays Romney as "radioactive" and that "anyone associated with Romney's betrayal of Trump will pay a price." Meanwhile Issa released an ad saying DeMaio is pro-abortion, using past clips of him talking about the freedom of choice on abortion. "Pro-life organizations and leaders know there's only one True Trump Conservative in this race who will help President Trump further pro-life legislation and values: Darrell Issa," said Issa for Congress Communications Director Greg Blair in a statement. 

They are running to replace former Representative Duncan Hunter, who resigned in January. 

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