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The Nevada Caucus: Results And Reaction

A Bernie Sanders supporter at University of Nevada, Reno.
Andrew Nixon

A Bernie Sanders supporter at University of Nevada, Reno.

Updated 5:37 a.m. Feb. 27 

Senator Bernie Sanders won the Nevada Democratic Caucus.

The win in Nevada cemented the senator's front-runner status. Next stop for the candidates is South Carolina on Saturday and then on to Super Tuesday.

While the candidates have moved on to the next stop on the campaign trail, third-place finisher Pete Buttigieg is questioning the results.

The Buttigieg campaign is asking the Nevada Democratic Party to release more details about problems allocating votes in last Saturday's caucus.

In a letter sent to the Nevada State Democratic Party late Saturday night and provided to The Associated Press on Sunday, the Buttigieg campaign said the process of integrating four days of early voting into in-person caucuses held Saturday was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies.” 

The party said it would not release more details and suggested the Buttigieg campaign could ask for a recount if it wanted.

The caucus came after more than 70,000 people voted early. It is the first time the party has used early voting.

Besides a few minor hiccups, including iPads that didn't send the information to the correct precincts, the caucus went off without any of the headaches that plagued the Iowa caucuses.

Chris Guinchigliani, former state assemblywoman and Clark County commission, worked on the caucus. She said things went well and she supports the caucus system, which some people believe should be abandoned altogether. 

 

Final Alignment - Presidential Caucus

2,097 of 2,097 precincts  - 100%

Votes/Percentage

Sanders41,07546.8
Biden19, 17920.2

Buttigieg

17,59814.3
Warren11,7039.7
Steyer4,1204.7
Klobuchar7, 3764.2
   
   

Source: The Associated Press - as of 5:37 a.m. pacific time Feb. 24.

 

Abeline Sabrina shows her support for Sen. Bernie Sanders at the caucus held at the Bellagio hotel-casino/Courtesy: Chris Sieroty

The caucus was called relatively early Saturday when it was determined that Sanders had taken an early and commanding lead.

 

Nevada's first-in-the-West caucuses tested the candidates' strength with black and brown voters for the first time in 2020.

 

Elizabeth Aguilar of Reno told CapRadio reporter Scott Rodd that she supports Sanders because of his plan for Medicare for All.

 

"I’m supporting Bernie Sanders just because he was the one that kind of got Medicare for all on the thoughts of all the other candidates. And obviously that’s probably not going to happen--we’re probably not going to get Medicare for all. But just the fact that someone’s willing to bring that idea out and say, ‘Hey this is what I think would benefit us.’ I think we have to support that candidate,” she said.

 

Jose Alvarez, a Culinary Union member, agreed. He caucused for Sanders on Saturday.

 

"His ideas, I like it. Well, I like the insurance for all. I like immigration reform. I like being able to pay the loans of the students because so much money in debt. We have our future luck," he said.

 

Candice Hensen is a Warren supporter. She caucused at John C. Fremont Middle School in Las Vegas. She was concerned that voting for Sanders would be just trading in the extreme of President Donald Trump for another extreme.

 

"And I don’t see Bernie as being as direct and honest and secure in what he’s gonna be able to do in getting support from both sides of the aisle. I feel as though he has great ideas. Actually fleshing them out and being able to get the support and get them enacted within a four-year term is going to be pretty difficult. But I’ll vote for him. Because anything…" she said.

 

Candice Hensen (left) waits for the caucus to begin in Precinct 5350 at John C Fremont Middle School in Las Vegas, NV

 

Self-described democratic socialist Sanders has emerged as the front-runner in the still-crowded field, and he and the others are already moving on and focusing on the big states coming up on March 3.

 

 

Caucus goers tally votes for the second alignment at North Valleys High School in Reno/Courtesy: Bert Johnson

Bernie Sanders supporters walk by the line at the John C. Fremont Middle School Nevada caucus location  in Downtown Las Vegas/Courtesy: Chris Smith

 

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV., was at the caucus site at the Bellagio hotel-casino today.

She told KNPR News that she believes the party can rally around a nominee when one is chosen.

"Democrats are fighting for things right. They are fighting for our families. They are fighting for access to health care … reasonable health care that they can afford. Access to prescription drugs that they can afford," she said, "Coverage for pre-existing conditions. That’s what Democrats are fighting for. What we see with the Republicans is that they want to take it all away. This administration right now is in court trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and take away coverage for pre-existing conditions.  So there is a stark distinction between what the Democrats are doing and fighting for our families and what Republicans are doing to harm our families."

The final delegate count at the Bellagio caucus site was Sanders 32 and Biden 19 with two uncommitted.

Tom Steyer at the Bellagio hotel-casino/Courtsey: Chris Sieroty

At Cimarron-Memorial High School near Summerlin, Donna Gray-McBride was torn among three to vote-getters.

"I’m still stuck between three people: Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders," she said, "Based on the top 2, which are Joe and Bernie, I kinda know more about one more than the other. [I have] a little more history with Joe Biden than I do with Bernie. Name recognition does go further than people just coming onto the scene."

Gray-McBride said she wasn't swayed by this week's debate. She didn't think the debate was very good.

In the end, Precinct 3752, which caucused at Cimarron-Memorial had three for Biden, four for Warren and nine for Sanders. Precinct 3747, which also caucused at the high school, had two for Buttigieg, three for Biden and three for Sanders.

Final delegate counts at Cimarron-Memorial High School Precinct 3752/Courtsey: Mike Prevatt\

Precinct 3747 at Cimarron-Memorial High School where Warren, Klobuchar and Steyer were not viable during the first alignment so their supporters debated strategies and candidate strengths/Courtesy: Mike Prevatt

Elizabeth Warren supporter at University of Nevada,Reno/Courtesy: Andrew Nixon

Nevada Democratic Caucus at University of Nevada, Reno/Courtesy: Andrew Nixon

Voters gather round the Precinct 5047 Captain as he gives instructions on the process of the alignment process. John C Fremont Middle School, Las Vegas, NV

Levi Kamolnick stands in line to enter the John C Fremont Middle School caucus location, adorned with 2 Cent “mickey ears” in reference to Senator Warren’s proposed 2 Cent Tax. 

 

 

NPR Nevada Caucus Blog
 

Hugh Jackson, editor, Nevada current;  Chris Giunchigliani, former member, State Assembly and Clark County Commission;  Warren Hardy, former member, State Senate;  John L. Smith, Nevada Public Radio contributor,  Jose Melendrez, executive director of community partnerships, UNLV;  Will Pregman, director of communications, Battle Born Progress;  Erika Castro, organizing manager, PLAN;  Christian Bato, volunteer, AAPI

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.
Bert is a reporter and producer based in Reno, where he covers the state legislature and stories that resonate across Nevada. He began his career in journalism after studying abroad during the summer of 2011 in Egypt, during the Arab Spring. Before he joined Nevada Public Radio and Capital Public Radio, Bert was a contributor at KQED and the Sacramento News & Review. He was also a photographer, video editor and digital producer at the East Bay Express.
(Editor's note: Chris Sieroty no longer works for Nevada Public Radio)
Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and KNPR's State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022. In 2024, CEO Favian Perez promoted Heidi to managing editor, charged with integrating the Desert Companion and State of Nevada newsroom operations.
Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.
Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.
Natalie is an Emmy-award winning journalist who has worked in the Las Vegas market since August 1996, starting as a newscast producer for KLAS-TV Channel 8, and later as an online editor for 8newsnow.com.
With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.