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

BREAKING: Bernie Sanders wins Nevada Democratic caucuses

Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada Democratic caucuses, according to an NBC News projection.

Sanders rode a wave of support from young voters, Latinos and first-time caucusgoers to a runaway first-place finish in the state Saturday. The big win could give Sanders momentum heading into next Saturday's primary in South Carolina, where polls show him running a close second to Joe Biden.

Sanders, looking to lock up a commanding delegate lead in his quest for the nomination, has also been devoting more time in California, the state that offers the largest prize on Super Tuesday, March 3.

It's too early to call a second-place finisher.

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.

Read the story.

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.