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The Debate Is Done, But How Will It Affect The Caucus?

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(AP Photo/John Locher)

From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC.

New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg played defense in his presidential debate debut in Las Vegas on Wednesday. 

Democrats, who have been on the campaign trail and duking it out in previous debates, savaged the former mayor with questions about his record and past comments related to race, gender and his personal wealth.

Hugh Jackson, editor of the Nevada Current, told KNPR's State of Nevada that Elizabeth Warren's strongly-worded attacks on Bloomberg were the highlight of the debate at the Paris hotel-casino.

"I think that Bloomberg kind of got his hat handed to him by Warren in kind of a brutal, cosmic way, which was pretty fun to watch, frankly, and probably richly deserved. And welcome to Nevada, Mr. Bloomberg and welcome to the campaign," Jackson quipped.

While most debate observers agreed that Warren tore into Bloomberg, former State Senator Patricia Farley doesn't believe the wounds were that severe.

"I think even the shots fired by Elizabeth Warren, to his audience, didn't matter," Farley said, "His body language suggested he wasn't even going to pay attention to it."

She thinks the former New York City mayor's wounds were only seen by people who wanted to see him wounded.

Support comes from

Farley is a former Republican who left the party during her time in the Nevada Legislature to become an independent. 

She said the Republican friends she talked to about the debate are tired of President Donald Trump's antics, even though they don't disagree with the job he is doing. 

Farley believes Bloomberg is after those voters and independents. The attacks on the moderate former mayor by other more liberal Democrats aren't going to impact their opinion of him. 

"The Republicans looking for an alternative choice - they elected Trump. [Bloomberg] kind of has that background," she said. 

Farley believes Sen. Amy Klobuchar was the winner in Wednesday night's debate. She is a firm supporter of former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and would like to see a Klobuchar and Buttigieg ticket.

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom is not only a Bernie Sanders' supporter. He is the head of his campaign in Southern Nevada.

Segerblom agreed with Jackson that Warren did a great job pointing out Bloomberg's flaws. He also agreed with Farley that it may not matter in the minds of the voters the former mayor is trying to attract.

"The reality is: that it is probably not bad for him because Bloomberg is really appealing to a different audience," he said.

The commissioner brushed off the idea that his candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, would help the GOP win in November because of what some people see as his extreme stance on issues like health care and climate change.

"He appeals to a voter Trump appealed to that Hillary didn't get," he said, "There is a working-class, white voter there that really hears his message and there's also millions and millions of people who are just being screwed by the health care system every day and the fact that he stays focused on that issue...I just think that at the end of the day people are going to say, 'We don't care that you're a socialist. We don't care what you are. We like what you're talking about."

Segerblom said if people would listen to Sanders they would understand that Socialism is not a problem and that it is actually working in several other European countries.

Jackson said that most people assume that Sanders will win the Nevada caucus, but he is more interested in who is second on Saturday.

"I still think that the most interesting thing is we do not know who is going to come in second," he said, "And whoever comes out of Nevada second that might be the storyline in Nevada and that person might have some wind in their sails, depending on who it is and how it shakes out," he said.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Guests

Hugh Jackson, editor, Nevada Current; Tick Segerblom, commissioner, Clark County Commission; Patricia Farley, business owner/former state senator

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