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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

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

NBC News Entrance Poll: Nevada is third state in a row to show dip in first-time Democratic voters in 2020

The share of Democrats participating in their first presidential caucus in Nevada today was down compared to four years ago, according to the NBC News Entrance Poll. That makes the Silver State the third in a row in which first-time voters make up a smaller share of the Democratic electorate in 2020 than in 2016.

About half of those participating in Nevada on Saturday were first-time caucusgoers; that’s down from 62 percent in 2016. This drop echoes the slight decline in first-time voters seen in the New Hampshire Democratic primary and in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. 

NBC News Entrance Poll: As caucuses began, Nevada Democrats were largely confident their votes would be counted correctly

As Democratic caucusgoers prepared to participate in Saturday’s Nevada contest, most expressed optimism that votes would be counted correctly, according to the NBC News Entrance Poll. More than 4 in 5 participants were confident in a correct count.

Those who were skeptical of an accurate count heavily favored Bernie Sanders: He won the support of more than half of these voters.

Voters’ confidence may end up being shaken by the fact that four hours after the caucuses began, few votes had been officially tallied by the state’s Democratic Party. Anecdotal reports indicated that confusion was delaying the reporting of results at several precincts across the state.

Trump tells 'Crazy Bernie' Sanders: 'don't let them take it away from you!'

President Donald Trump tuned into the Nevada Democratic caucuses on Saturday, tweeting that "Crazy Bernie" was doing well and telling the Vermont senator, "Don't let them take it away from you!"

"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," Trump tweeted, short before NBC News projected Sanders would win. "Congratulations Bernie, & don't let them take it away from you!"

Since the 2016 primary, Trump has frequently suggested that the Democratic National Committee is working against Sanders to keep him from winning the party's nomination.

Read the story.

Sanders draws Latino support at site near downtown Vegas

LAS VEGAS — More than 80 people participated in the caucus at Rancho High School near downtown Las Vegas, where Sanders appeared to be doing well.

"I feel great," said Mario Vivales, who cast his vote for the Vermont senator and said he believes the caucus process went smoothly. "I saw Bernie jumping ahead of everyone." 

Most of the volunteers running the caucus there were high school students between 15 to 18 years old.

“This is the next generation,” said Yesenia Moya, 30, who was the temporary precinct chair. “I’m proud to be a part of this today.”

Glady Ayala,15, and Evelyn Pena, 16, volunteered in their first caucus this year. Both girls are Rancho High School students.

“I thought it was a really good opportunity to try something new,” Ayala said.

Pena said it was pretty stressful because participants wanted things to go faster.

“We were trying our best," she said. "We are new to this.”

The best part of the day, they said, was meeting Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and first lady Kathy Sisolak.

Democratic voters embrace Medicare for All in Iowa, N.H. and Nevada

LAS VEGAS — NBC News entrance or exit polls find that Medicare for All is supported by large majorities of Democratic voters in Iowa (57 percent support to 38 percent opposition), New Hampshire (58 percent support to 37 percent opposition) and Nevada (62 percent support to 35 percent opposition).

That helps explain the strength of Bernie Sanders in all three states and indicates that rival candidates who staked their primary campaigns on opposing Medicare for All — most notably Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg — may have miscalculated. Many Democratic voters in 2020 are less interested in candidates who talk about what is politically possible and more interested in candidates who seek to change what is possible.

NBC News Entrance Poll: Support for Sanders and Warren divided along education lines in Nevada

An educational divide separates the Nevada supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the two leading liberal contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, results from the NBC News Entrance Poll show.

The Massachusetts senator drew her strongest support in Nevada from the most educated caucusgoers. She received 19 percent of the vote among those with an advanced degree. But at each step of the education ladder below this level, Warren did worse: She bottomed out at 8 percent among those who have never attended college.

Sanders did better than Warren among Nevada voters at every education level, but his pattern was the reverse of hers. Among Democratic caucusgoers who have never attended college, he was favored by nearly half. Sanders’ support was reduced at each additional level of educational attainment; he and Warren ran virtually neck-and-neck among those with an advanced degree.

The Vegas way: Buttigieg backer pulls winning card to break tie at Nevada caucus

It was the luck of the draw for Pete Buttigieg at a Nevada caucus on Saturday. Literally.

At the North Valleys High School caucus site in Reno, Buttigieg's supporters drew from a card deck the number 3, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' backers picked a 2, breaking a delegate tie between the candidates and making the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor the winner of this caucus location.

The Nevada Democratic Party has used a deck of cards to break ties since 2008. Per party rules, if two caucus groups are tied, then representatives from each candidate draws a single card from a deck in order to break the tie. The winner is the high card, with aces the highest.

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NBC News Entrance Poll: Championed by Sanders, 'Medicare For All' supported by 6 in 10 Nevada Democratic voters

More than half of Nevadans participating in Saturday's Democratic presidential caucuses support "Medicare for All," according to results from the NBC News Entrance Poll. A signature policy proposal of Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All would replace Americans’ private health insurance with a single government plan. 

Medicare for All’s numbers in Nevada are similar to those seen in the other two 2020 Democratic presidential contests so far, in New Hampshire and Iowa. 

Sanders appears the favorite at Latino-heavy caucus site

Bernie Sanders' popularity in parts of the Latino community was clear at a caucus site in east Las Vegas, showing how much his campaign has penetrated into the community.

Sanders came out on top of each of four precincts that met in the Desert Pines High School's cafeteria and often was 10 points or more ahead of the second place candidate, who was Joe Biden in three precincts and Tom Steyer in a fourth. 

Although Sanders registers high support with young Latinos, the in-person caucusgoers were a mix of younger and middle-aged people.

Early votes appeared to help Sanders put distance between himself and other candidates. In one of the precincts, 18 people showed up to caucus, but 63 people voted early, according to initial calculations. In the precinct's unofficial results, Sanders got 16 people in the room and 40 early voters, while Biden got one vote in the room and 18 early voters. One caucusgoer who initially was for Pete Buttigieg chose to be uncommitted after Buttigieg failed to get enough votes to be viable.

Sabryna Gomez, 18, who attended her first caucus, initially caucused for Tom Steyer. She said she had seen him on the news and he encouraged her to come out for him. But Steyer was not viable in her precinct, so she switched her vote to Sanders. 

Javier Galvez, 35, was the only in-person caucusgoer to choose Biden and was not joined by anyone on the second round. But early votes kept Biden in the race.

"I'm glad I was able to help push him over the top to be a viable candidate," Galvez said. 

In another precinct, Alejandra Romero, 28, a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus, said she was thrilled with the support for Sanders in her precinct. 

"I had a lot of faith in our community. I went with my heart first. In our community, we are clear on the principles and values wanted from a candidate," she said. Sanders' values "are very clear, and right now the stakes are too high."