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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

Some Dem candidates temper expectations as Nevada caucus results roll in

Amy Klobuchar said she's a viable candidate no matter what happens Saturday, Joe Biden pivoted to his fundraising and Elizabeth Warren literally jogged away and yelled "back to the car" after reporters asked each nominee how they were feeling about their chances as the initial results for the Nevada caucuses began to trickle in.

The three top candidates seemed to be tempering expectations before there is a clear outcome, and many pointed to future contests and their investments in other upcoming states' contests. Early results in Nevada indicate Bernie Sanders had a significant advantage over the other contenders in Saturday's race.

But while Klobuchar, Warren and Biden were still in Nevada visiting caucus locations, it appeared the Vermont senator had already shifted his gaze to Super Tuesday and left for El Paso, Texas, where he was scheduled to hold a rally in the late afternoon. 

Some Nevada caucus sites facing volunteer shortages

LAS VEGAS — Voters were turning out for the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, but there was a lack of volunteers to meet them at some polling locations.

At Rancho High School, a caucus location with 11 precincts just outside of Las Vegas, almost all of the volunteers were high school students, many of whom are unable to vote themselves because of their age. The only adult that NBC News spotted working at the site was the caucus lead — the school's social studies teacher. The students were only trained Friday night, and officials were actively looking for more adult volunteers to help coach the teens through the process.

At another precinct near the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a state Democratic official told campaign representatives that there weren't enough volunteers statewide, and that the campaigns might have to staff voting locations themselves.

Read more here.

NBC News Entrance Poll: Among Nevada Democrats, black and Latino voters more likely to say they are moderate or conservative

Black and Latino voters — who make up a bigger share of the electorate in Saturdays’s Nevada Democratic caucuses compared to previous 2020 contests — are more likely to call themselves “moderate” or “conservative” than white Democrats, early results from the NBC News Entrance Poll show.

Half of black Democrats in Nevada said they are either moderate or conservative, as did about 4 in 10 Latinos. Just 3 in 10 white Nevada Democratic caucusgoers said the same. 

Overall, Nevada’s Democratic electorate leans liberal. Two-thirds of Saturday’s caucusgoers said they are “very” or “somewhat” liberal — a share comparable to Democratic voters earlier this month in Iowa (68 percent) and New Hampshire (61 percent).

Tulsi Gabbard supporters look a little lonely

Three supporters Tulsi Gabbard sit alone in her section of the Nevada Democratic Caucus at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Three supporters of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard sit alone in her section of the Nevada Democratic Caucus at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 22, 2020.Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

NBC News Entrance Poll: No significant bump for Warren among late-deciding voters in Nevada

Elizabeth Warren's performance in Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate failed to sway many late-deciding voters in Saturday’s Nevada Democratic caucuses.

Early results from the NBC News Entrance Poll show Warren in third place — at 17 percent — among Nevada Democrats who say they decided on their vote in the last few days; Bernie Sanders holds a thin lead among this group. Warren's performance among these voters isn't that different from her fourth-place standing among earlier deciders; 11 percent of those who decided before the last few days supported her. 

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.

'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.