The 2020 Nevada caucuses

By Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 11:02 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020
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8:23 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Buttigieg warns against Sanders’ nomination

From CNN's Lauren Dezenski

Pete Buttigieg warned against Bernie Sanders’ nomination as the Democratic presidential nominee in his speech to supporters following the Nevada caucuses.

“I congratulate Sen. Sanders on a strong showing today,” Buttigieg said, adding: “But before we rush to nominate Sen. Sanders … Let us take a sober look at what is at stake.”

While delivering his speech, it was not yet clear where Buttigieg placed in Nevada’s caucuses after Sanders.

“That is the choice before us. We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory,” Buttigieg said. “We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new and broad and big-hearted American coalition.”

Buttigieg then highlighted the differences between himself and Sanders, saying Sanders “believes in an ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats as well as most Americans.”

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor charged that Sanders’ "Medicare for All" plan “believes in taking away” peoples’ choice in health care, “replacing it with a public plan whether people want it or not.”

Buttigieg narrowly leads Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, and he came in second place, after Sanders, in the New Hampshire primary. 

See Buttigieg speak to supporters:

8:16 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, CNN projects

From CNN's Maeve Reston

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses, according to a CNN projection, showing the power of his organization and amplifying his argument that he can broaden his appeal across the Democratic electorate based on the results from the most diverse state in Democrats' nominating contest thus far.

Though former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to have the lead in polls as late as January, Sanders made an enormous organizing push beginning in the middle of last year, putting some 250 paid staffers on the ground in the Silver State.

Sanders' campaign also harnessed their grassroots fundraising machine to build roots within the state’s large Latino community, advertising in Spanish not only on television, radio and social media, but through ads on music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

Watch the moment:

7:53 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Biden says he feels "really good" about Nevada caucuses 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Joe Biden said he feels “really good” about the Nevada caucuses as votes are being counted.  

“I know we don’t have the final results yet, but I feel really good,” Biden told a crowd of supporters in Las Vegas. “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.”

The former vice president touted his union support in the state. 

“We got some of the best union support, I think better than anybody in the whole damn race,” Biden said. 

“I think we’re in the position now to move on in a way that we haven’t been until this moment,” he added. “I think we are going to go, we’re going to win in South Carolina, and then Super Tuesday and we are on our way.”

Biden finished fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire.

Watch the moment:

8:08 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Two caucuses were decided by high-card draws, Nevada precinct chair says

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Courtesy Ross Armstrong
Courtesy Ross Armstrong

Ross Armstrong was the precinct chair for two small caucuses at Echo Loder Elementary School in Reno, Nevada, where both were decided by high-card draws from a deck of cards.

Armstrong says both are very small precincts and only have one delegate to award and thus the viability rule doesn't apply and the candidate with the most votes wins the delegate.

In one precinct, there were only three caucusgoers participating: one caucusgoer who supported Pete Buttigieg, and two early voters who went for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  

A three-way tie for the single delegate.  

"Because there were no in-person reps for Bernie or Warren, we just went to the caucus next door to find supports to pull the cards," Armstrong said. 

Warren won the delegate in that precinct with a jack of hearts; Sanders pulled a four of spades and Buttigieg pulled a three of diamonds.

In the other precinct he chaired, one caucusgoer supported former Vice President Joe Biden and the other Buttigieg. 

Buttigieg won the delegate with an eight of spades, which beat out Biden's seven of clubs.

CNN's Dana Bash explains:

7:21 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Klobuchar: "I think we have exceeded expectations" in the Nevada caucuses

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Amy Klobuchar said she thinks her presidential campaign has exceeded expectations in the Nevada caucuses as votes are being counted. 

“We have a great team down there, still working hard. They're counting the votes, but as usual, I think we have exceeded expectations,” Klobuchar said in a speech to supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

“A lot of people didn't even think that I would still be standing at this point,” the Minnesota senator said. Her campaign finished fifth in Iowa and third in New Hampshire. 

Klobuchar continued: “They didn't think I’d make it through that speech in the snow, 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.”

Watch Klobuchar speak to supporters:

7:17 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Sanders tries monitoring Nevada caucus results on plane, but WiFi isn't cooperating

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Bernie Sanders may be a plane to San Antonio, Texas, but his focus still appears to be on the Nevada caucuses.

Sanders got up from his seat shortly after taking off to walk over to his deputy campaign manager Ari Rabin-Havt and ask for an update on the Nevada caucus results.

At first Rabin-Havt could not get service, and asked the plane to reboot their WiFi, and for everyone on the plane to turn off their WiFi.

When Rabin-Havt finally did get WiFi, he found that not much of the official results were in.

Sanders then returned to his seat.

7:05 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

What Trump is saying about the Nevada caucuses

President Trump congratulated Bernie Sanders for doing well in the Nevada caucuses.

Trump went on to hit the other Democratic candidates who he said look “weak” and claimed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg can’t “restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates.”

Read Trump's tweet:

7:41 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Early county delegates results have Sanders ahead in Nevada

Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken an early lead in Nevada with just 1% of precincts reporting on county delegates.

Sanders leads with 29.3%, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 18.7%. In third place is former Vice President Joe Biden with 17.3%.

"Remember that the county delegates will determine the winner," CNN's Wolf Blitzer said this evening.

How county delegates work: The Nevada State Democratic Party will release the county delegate results of the precinct caucuses for each candidate. The national delegate number will reflect those results. As in previous cycles, CNN will determine the winner by the candidate who receives the most county delegates.

Though the release of these votes could show one candidate winning the most actual votes and another winning the most delegates, CNN will continue to use the candidate with the most delegates as the standard, as it will reflect the most votes at the national convention.

For the first time, the state party will also release the results of the first and final preference votes (more on that below) alongside the county delegates, but like the popular vote's relation to the Electoral College, the delegates will ultimately reflect who's in the top spot.

The big picture for Democrats: To win the Democratic presidential nomination on the first ballot during the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July, a candidate needs 1,991 pledged delegate votes. Nevada has 36 up for grabs Saturday.

Though that’s only about 1% of the delegates up for grabs, the momentum a candidate can gain from showing strength in a state with a diverse population, strong union representation and Western location can change the direction of the race.

CNN's David Chalian breaks down the latest reporting:

6:50 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Nevada GOP awards all delegates to Trump

From CNN's Adam Levy

Democratic presidential candidates aren’t the only ones earning delegates today.

The Nevada Republican Party voted to allocate all 25 of their delegates to President Trump during their winter meeting today.

The state party voted to forgo a formal caucus last year and instead hold an “alternative presidential preference poll” during the meeting. Other state parties — both Democrat and Republican — have opted to do the same when an incumbent president of their party is running for reelection. 

Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Guam, Kansas, and South Carolina Republicans are not holding formal primaries or caucuses this year as well.

It takes 1,276 delegates to win the Republican nomination. After winning the Nevada slate today, CNN estimates Trump currently has 86 delegates.