Hillary Clinton pulled out a victory over Bernie Sanders in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses that will help right her campaign as both candidates head into a 10-day blitz of crucial contests starting next Saturday in South Carolina.
Clinton held off a late surge from Sanders after seemingly having the state locked up as the presidential nomination race was getting underway. She had 52 percent of the caucus vote to 48 percent for Sanders with almost three-quarters of precincts counted, according to results released by the Nevada Democratic Party.
“To everyone who turned out in every corner of Nevada with determination and heart: This is your win. Thank you,” Clinton tweeted as the vote count showed her win.
She focused her campaign on Clark County, home to Las Vegas and many of the states biggest casinos. She drew 55 percent of votes in the country, which has almost 75 percent of the state’s 2.8 million residents.
Turnout at the casino sites was largely driven by unions representing kitchen and gaming-floor workers, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, who teaches political science at the University of Southern California and attended the caucus at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in which Clinton received 190 votes to Sanders’ 81.
“If you look at the back-of-the-house workers, who are mostly Latino, they’re for Clinton and the front-of-the-house workers are for Sanders," Jeffe said after the vote. “The Latino vote is, by and large, hanging with Hillary.”’
After winning by less than a percentage point in Iowa and suffering a drubbing in New Hampshire, Clinton’s campaign was counting on a strong showing in Nevada to assert her control over the party fight heading into next Saturday’s South Carolina primary and on Super Tuesday, March 1, when 11 states hold primaries or caucuses.
Clinton also holds an edge in South Carolina, where she led Sanders by 22 percentage points in a Bloomberg Politics poll released on Feb. 18.
Mindful of her 2008 race in Nevada against Barack Obama, when she won the popular vote but he won more delegates, Clinton started organizing in the state months before Sanders and secured endorsements from many local Democratic officials.
Sanders made a late push, opening 12 offices across the state and investing millions in television and radio ads. Sanders sought to build on momentum coming out of New Hampshire by capitalizing on the collapse of the Nevada housing market during the Great Recession with his message of a rigged economy benefiting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
“Senator Sanders was a nice January-February blip on the radar screen, but her march to the nomination should be well on its way after she wins here, especially given the South Carolina numbers,” Billy Vassiliadis, a Democratic consultant in Las Vegas who is backing Clinton, said before the vote.
The Nevada caucuses award 23 delegates toward the Democratic nomination. There also are eight super delegates and 12 other at-large or party leader and elected official delegates from the state. A candidate needs 2,382 to secure the nomination. Going into Saturday’s caucuses, Clinton had 483 delegates, including party leaders and elected officials, to Sanders’ 55, according to an estimate compiled by the Associated Press.
© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.