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Nevada caucuses live updates: Bernie Sanders wins Nevada Democratic caucuses

The candidates — not including Mike Bloomberg, who is not on the ballot — competed for the state's 36 pledged delegates.
Image: The Nevada caucuses will take place on Feb. 22, 2020.
The Nevada caucuses will take place on Feb. 22, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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Bernie Sanders was the winner of Saturday's Nevada caucuses, according to an NBC News projection.

Saturday's caucuses followed a fiery debate among the candidates earlier in the week in which Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren challenged former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on sexism and race and Amy Klobuchar sparred with Pete Buttigieg over their political experience.

Nevada is the first Western state in the Democratic presidential primary following New Hampshire and the chaos that was the Iowa caucuses.

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Live Blog

'I love you!': Las Vegas voter gets emotional after meeting

While visiting a caucus site in Las Vegas, Biden was greeted by supporters including Tina Edwards, a retiree, who became overwhelmed with emotions when she saw Biden. “Mr. Joe Biden! I love you! Oh my goodness,” she said before embracing him and crying.

After her emotional encounter with Biden, Edwards told reporters off-camera that the former VP needs "to be my president" because she doesn’t "want to have to go through another four years of drinking" with President Donald Trump.

Why the long face, Pete?

Pete Buttigieg campaigns with Nevada voters at the Sierra Vista High School caucus site on Feb. 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nev.Win McNamee / Getty Images

Biden: Democratic primary a battle over 'what direction we take as a party'

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday afternoon at a caucus location in Las Vegas that the Democratic primary is a battle over "what direction we take as a party." 

Biden made the comment when asked if the primary is a battle over the soul of the Democratic Party.

"I think it matters a lot, whether or not what direction we take as a party," he told reporters after spending some time shaking hands and mingling with caucusgoers. 

Biden said that the most important thing voters are looking for is "authenticity," to be able to deliver what a candidate says they plan to do as president. 

"I mean it's just getting down to that, and that's the battle inside the party right now," he said. "And there is a lot of differences among us that are being made more obvious now." 

Asked if the former vice president had confidence in the caucus process, Biden said he would be able to answer that once it's over. “This is a complicated process ... " he said. "We’ll see.”

On whether he thinks he could beat Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Saturday, Biden spoke about electability and said polls show that the former vice president would not only defeat Trump in a general election, but he'd also be able to help Democrats pick up House and Senate seats.

Bellagio workers raise signs for Sanders

Bellagio hotel workers hold Bernie placards before caucusing at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., on Feb. 22, 2020.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

 

Candidates show up at caucus sites to thank voters

Elizabeth Warren paid a visit to the Coronado High School caucus. She hugged supporters and shook their hands, thanking them for "participating in democracy."

"This is what it's all about," she said.

Pete Buttigieg visited Sierra Vista High School to meet with caucusgoers there.

Buttigieg says his focus for today is "making sure we have a very strong support and show well," especially considering this is the "most diverse electorate we’ve had yet." He called today a "great opportunity for us to show that broadening coalition." 

Joe Biden visited a caucus location in Las Vegas, spending time shaking hands and mingling with caucus-goers waiting to register. He spent roughly half an hour making his way through the lines of caucusgoers, snapping selfies and asking them for their support.

Julián Castro helps caucus for Warren

Julian Castro, who dropped out of the 2020 presidential race and has been campaigning for Elizabeth Warren, stopped by the Desert Pines High School caucus site in East Austin. He spoke to Javier Galvez, 35, who was caucusing for Joe Biden. Galvez's daughter Isabela, 6, was with her father.Suzanne Gamboa

NBC News Entrance Poll: Sanders dominates among Nevada caucusgoers who prioritize issues over beating Trump

Bernie Sanders has a wide lead in the Nevada Democratic presidential caucuses among voters who prioritize a candidate who agrees with them on issues over someone who can beat President Donald Trump. 

Early results from the NBC News Entrance Poll show Sanders winning more than half of the initial preference votes among those who prioritize issues, far ahead of rivals Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. According to NBC News, the race is currently too early to call, but Sanders has a significant lead in the initial preference vote based on early entrance polls.

Support for Sanders is more muted among Nevada Democrats who’d rather nominate a candidate who can beat Trump: Sanders is vying with moderate rivals Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg for the lead with these voters.

Too early to call in Nevada, but Sanders has a significant lead in initial preference results

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Democratic caucus on Saturday is too early to call after precinct locations closed their doors, according to NBC News.

Bernie Sanders has a significant lead in the initial preference results based on early entrance polls, NBC News projected.

Sanders' projected lead in voters' initial preference came as doors at caucus sites across the state closed promptly at 3:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. local time).

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NBC News Entrance Poll: Liberals, Latinos and young voters power Sanders to significant early lead in Nevada

Bernie Sanders saw a groundswell of support from young, liberal voters in Saturday’s Nevada Democratic caucuses. Early results from the NBC News Entrance Poll show Sanders also found strong backing among the state’s Latino voters. According to NBC News, the race is currently too early to call but Sanders has a significant lead in the initial preference vote based on early entrance polls. 

Sanders is overwhelming his rivals among the state’s youngest caucusgoers, capturing the votes of two-thirds of those age 17 to 29. The Vermont senator is also the clear favorite of Nevada Latino Democrats, winning about half of their votes. And as in previous contests, Sanders has garnered wide support from voters describing themselves as “very liberal.” Roughly half of these caucusgoers named him their first choice. He’s also winning half the votes of participants who favor replacing private insurance with a single government plan.