Bernie Sanders has strong showing at Las Vegas caucus sites – as Nevada Democrats hope to not repeat Iowa vote-counting debacle
- The Nevada Democratic caucuses kicked off at noon Saturday, with voters at two caucus sites in Las Vegas showing a preference for Bernie Sanders
- Sanders was leading in entrance poll and had a healthy lead in two polls released Friday, on caucus day eve
- Democratic presidential candidates were campaigning in the state all week and held a debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday
Democrats across Nevada gathered to caucus for their presidential picks at noon Saturday, with the party hoping that the process will work better than it did earlier this month in Iowa.
At the Bellagio Hotel on the iconic Las Vegas strip, passionate caucus-goers broke out into conflicting chants for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden – as the room appeared divided between supporters of only those two candidates.
There were 123 participants gathered for the caucuses in the Las Vegas strip casino and right after caucus-goers were told to go to stand by their preferred candidate group, the room split down the middle.
Bernie Sanders supporters hold up a bumper sticker at the Bellagio, one of the large caucus sites on the iconic Las Vegas strip
Bellagio hotel workers check in because caucusing Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada for Democratic presidential hopefuls
Sen. Bernie Sanders held a final Get Out the Caucus Rally at the Springs Preserve Ampitheater in Las Vegas Friday night
Vice President Joe Biden greets Democratic caucus-goers Saturday at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas
Elizabeth Warren only had a handful of supporters caucus for her at the Bellagio Hotel caucus site
Originally, attendees were given 15 minutes to make their initial preference, but after only a few minutes, the groups began chanting the name of the candidate they were supporting: ‘Biden’ and ‘Bernie.’
Candidates needed 19 participants to pick them to maintain viability at the Bellagio ballroom caucus site – which only Biden and Sanders earned in the first round, wiping out every other candidate from consideration in the first few minutes.
The site included caucus-goers within a 2.5 mile radius as well as shift workers at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino who wanted to participate in the middle of the work day.
While The majority of the room flooded to the Vermont senator, former Vice President Biden also had a good show up of supporters.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who gained momentum coming off the ninth Democratic primary debate on Wednesday in Las Vegas, had only seven people caucus for her.
One attendee even realigned from Warren’s group early, decreasing the senator’s support even more, and moved over to caucus for Sanders.
When the move was announced over the microphone ahead of the first realignment, Sanders’ supporters cheered enthusiastically while Biden supporters booed.
No other candidates other than Sanders and Biden earned the 19 ballots needed to remain in the running.
And as the two groups were given one minute to appeal to why the other participants should switch to their candidate, the groups cheered and chanted when a attendee deflected from their first choice to cast their realignment ballot for either Sanders or Biden.
The final two Nevada polls that dropped Friday had shown Sanders with a comfortable lead. And he was leading in entrance polls Saturday as well.
The Emerson University poll shows 30 per cent of likely Democratic primary voters supporting the democratic socialist, 17 per cent liking Buttigieg, 16 per cent behind Biden and 12 per cent for Warren.
Data for Progress data showed Sanders with 32 per cent support in the state, followed by Warren with 17 per cent, Buttigieg with 15 per cent and Biden with 14 per cent.
Mike Bloomberg made his debate debut in Nevada Wednesday night, but then headed to Utah – a Super Tuesday state. The billionaire has staked his chances on competing in the 14 states that vote on March 3, instead of competing in the first four, which includes Nevada
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told DailyMail.com earlier in the week that he couldn’t predict when the results of the Nevada caucus would come out
Democrats are hoping that Nevada’s caucuses go off without a hitch after an app glitch led to chaos in Iowa at the beginning of the month, with Sanders’ campaign still challenging the count that saw Buttigieg win by a tiny fraction.
Earlier in the week, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez told DailyMail.com he couldn’t predict when results would be up. Perez couldn’t guarantee whether the crop of 2020 presidential candidates competing in the Democratic primary would see results by the end of Saturday.
‘I don’t know how many people are going to show up, so that’s an impossible question to answer,’ Perez said. ‘I know we’re going to try to get results as soon as possible. But we want to get results that are accurate and we want to make sure we count every vote.’