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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

Sanders' Nevada win cheered by Latinos

Valeria  Romano said she could see a difference when she was knocking on Latinos' doors for Bernie Sanders in this election compared to 2016. People were more responsive, paying attention, and many were in agreement with her support for Sanders.

"I did’t think it was going to happen, that we were going to have this kind of lead," Romano told NBC News.

"It proves to me that the last election wasn’t in vain," she said. "It was just the beginning. Now we’re seeing how it's going to turn out and people are going to pay attention now. Bernie has woken up so many minds and that gives me hope especially for the future."

Romano, 32, is a mother of two with another child on the way, and she works one job at a retail art supply store and a second job selling her screen printings. Yet she increased her work on Sanders' behalf for this campaign to help get more Latinos to vote for him and increase the community's influence in picking a presidential nominee. 

In 2016, people in the community knew Sanders only as "el hombre con el pelo (the man with the hair)," she said after NBC News projected Sanders as the caucus winner. "People really knew him this time. He was Tío (uncle) Bernie or El Quemazon (the burn), a moniker that became a corrido or ballad.

Sanders' campaign was on the ground early and has integrated outreach to Latino voters throughout the campaign, said Chuck Rocha, Sanders' campaign adviser. The campaign has spent millions to reach new Latino voters and those that have not voted often. It hired 200 staff in Nevada, about a third of whom are Latino, almost all of them bilingual, Rocha said. 

Rocha said he'd been consistently targeting 100,000 Latinos — over 50,000 more than those who caucused in the last election or who regularly vote. Sanders' finish in Nevada shows that "early intentional investments can deliver the Latino vote," he said.

"We won the Nevada caucus by historic margins by incorporating Latinos into leadership and every part of the campaign," he said. 

"Every time I'm with him (Sanders), he turns to me and says, 'Chuck, tell me what we are doing to get the Latinos out,'" he said. 

Showing his intention to keep trying to rally Latinos, Sanders gave his victory speech in San Antonio, Texas, a heavily Latino city and home of former presidential candidate Julián Castro.

Sanders celebrates Nevada victory, touts 'multi-generational and multi-racial coalition'

Bernie Sanders celebrated his decisive victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, introducing his wife Jane Sanders to an energized crowd in San Antonio, Texas, as “the next first lady.” 

“Let me introduce to you the next first lady,” Sanders said, as he took the stage to a cheering crowd of supporters. “You will be very proud of her as first lady.” 

“Let me thank the people of Nevada for their support," Sanders continued, touting a "multi-generational and multi-racial coalition" that not only delivered a victory to him tonight, but “is going to sweep this country.”

Sanders was in Texas campaigning ahead of the Lone Star State's primary on Super Tuesday, March 3. 

“Don't tell anybody I don't want to get them nervous,” Sanders said. “We are going to win the Democratic nomination in Texas.”

Sander poked fun at President Donald Trump, who had been tweeting about the Vermont senator as caucus results rolled in.

“The president gets very, very upset easily so don't tell him we are going to beat him here in Texas,” Sanders said.

After Sanders win, culinary union says it remains committed to its health care plan

After Bernie Sanders became the projected winner in Nevada, the powerful Culinary Workers Union in the state released a statement that said they remained focused on defeating Donald Trump in the fall and "securing healthcare for all, while maintaining a choice for Culinary Union members to keep what we’ve built in 85 years."

The statement is of note as the union released a thinly veiled attack on Sanders for his Medicare for All plan that they claimed would "end Culinary health care" ahead of the caucuses. The group did not endorse any candidate. 

The union's broadside, however, gained national attention, and the organization later called the backlash from Sanders' supporters for their stance "vicious." The fracas opened a new avenue for criticism from his opponents and forced Sanders to share his support for the group.

While the union did say that their other platform issue would remain "Defeating Trump on Election Day," it remains to be seen if they will fully get behind a Sanders' candidacy. 

Buttigieg congratulates — and then rips — Bernie Sanders

Pete Buttigieg congratulated Sen. Bernie Sanders for winning the Nevada caucuses on Saturday — and then said he thought the Democratic frontrunner is so divisive that he could lead the party to defeat in November. 

"Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders, let's take a sober look at what’s at stake," Buttigieg told supporters. 

"Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said, adding that Sanders has "a vision of capitalism as the root of all evil."

Buttigieg also suggested that having Sanders on top of the Democratic ticket would lead to defeat in House and Senate races. 

“I believe the only way to truly deliver any of the progressive changes we care about is to be a nominee who actually gives a damn about the effect you are having, from the top of the ticket, on those crucial, frontline House and Senate Democrats running to win,” he said. 

"We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or call them into our movement," he continued, adding, "I believe the best way to defeat Donald Trump and deliver for the American people is to broaden and galvanize the majority that supports us."  

"This is our only shot to defeat Donald Trump," he said. "Let's make sure we get this choice right." 

Buttigieg's remarks drew criticism from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Sanders supporter, who said the former South Bend mayor was speaking "for the American elite, not the majority."

De Blasio, who briefly ran for president himself, tweeted at Buttigieg again a few minutes later, calling him "smug" and saying he needed to show "humility."


Joe Biden: 'We're alive and we're coming back and we're going to win!'

While early returns show Joe Biden running well behind Sen. Bernie Sanders in Nevada, the former vice president told supporters in Las Vegas "I feel really good" about the results. 

"You know, I know we don't have the final results yet, but I feel really good. You put me in a position — you know, the press is ready to declare people dead quickly, but we're alive and we're coming back and we're going to win," Biden told his cheering supporters, including one who yelled that Biden is "the comeback kid."

"Y’all did it for me. Now we're going to go to South Carolina and win and take this back," Biden said. 

NBC News projects Bernie Sanders has won the the Nevada Democratic caucuses. It remains too early to call second and third-place finishers.

Trump formally snares Nevada delegates

As the results from Nevada's Democratic caucuses trickled in Saturday night, President Donald Trump was officially awarded all of the state Republican party's 25 delegates.

The state party had already canceled its caucuses, and voted by acclimation on Saturday to give Trump all of the delegates, executive director Will Sexauer told The Associated Press

The Nevada numbers give Trump 86 of the 87 Republican delegates awarded to date. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld won one delegate in Iowa. 

Klobuchar says tough showing at Nevada caucuses 'exceeded expectations'

Amy Klobuchar told her supporters at a rally in her native Minneapolis that she had once again "exceeded expectations" in the race for the Democratic nomination as she tried to polish what entrance polling and initial results appear to indicate will be a finish outside the top tier in Nevada. 

It's too early to call where candidates placed behind NBC News' projected winner, Bernie Sanders.

Departing the Silver State before results came in on Saturday, Klobuchar flew to her home in Minnesota — a Super Tuesday state with 75 pledged delegates — to participate in early voting, encourage her supporters to do the same and emphasize that her campaign is keeping its head above water. 

"I always note that a lot of people didn't even think that I would still be standing at this point. They didn't think I'd make it through that speech in the snow," she said, referring to the winter conditions she dealt with when announcing her candidacy. "They didn't think I'd make it to the debate floor. But time and time again, because of all of you and because of the people around this country that want something different than the guy in the White House, we have won."

Klobuchar then outlined her plan for the coming days, including rallies in North Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Carolina and further distanced herself from her progressive opponents, reiterating her belief that she can be the unity candidate with a centrist view. 

She noted that President Donald Trump had even name-checked her at a rally this week, which she said was a "badge of honor" and meant that "you know I've arrived now."

"Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is that the people in the middle, the people who are tired of the mudslinging and the name-calling, will have a place to call home this November and that has been our mission from the beginning," she said.  

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.