CNN hosts town halls with Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar

Updated 12:21 AM ET, Wed February 19, 2020
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8:20 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Sanders doesn't say whether he'd accept Bloomberg's financial backing

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Will Lanzoni/CNN
Will Lanzoni/CNN

Bernie Sanders didn’t answer a question about whether he would accept hundreds of millions of dollars in help from Michael Bloomberg if the Vermont senator becomes the Democratic nominee. 

Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper he doesn’t have a super PAC and hasn’t asked for one, but then ignored a question about whether he’d accept Bloomberg’s money. 

Instead, Sanders touted raising seven million individual contributions, averaging $18.15 from a broad base of Americans. 

“There is a point at which money ceases to be significant,” he said. “We will have enough money to run a strong campaign. We will have enough money to defeat Donald Trump.” 

Bloomberg has been self-funding his own presidential campaign, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising alone.

Watch the moment:

8:13 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Bernie Sanders' town hall has begun

Will Lanzoni/CNN
Will Lanzoni/CNN

The event with Sanders has begun. He will answer questions from CNN's Anderson Cooper.

7:28 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Nevada Democrats hope to avoid a repeat of Iowa

From CNN's Adam Levy

Tonight's town halls come just days before Nevada voters will head to caucus sites.

In an effort to prevent the same chaos that occurred at the Iowa caucuses, the Nevada State Democratic Party announced new details on changes being made to its presidential caucuses that are focused on calculating and reporting results.

After dropping an app built by the same company whose "coding errors" caused mass confusion in Iowa, the Nevada party created a new tool and consulted with the Department of Homeland Security, the Democratic National Committee and other experts to update their reporting system and two-source reporting verification process.

While the party isn't calling it an app, precinct chairs will use a "caucus calculator" on party-bought iPads to work out viability and delegate results during the caucuses by adding together caucus results and early vote data into the tool. 

On caucus day, voters will be asked to rank their top three to five choices for president on their ballot, which will be scanned at a processing hub and used at their assigned precinct location on caucus day.

The results from early voting will be included in the caucus calculator and on paper to help precinct chairs include them properly.

7:27 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Early voting in Nevada started last weekend

 From CNN's Paul LeBlanc and Kevin Conlon

CNN's town halls come after the Nevada State Democratic Party tweeted that more than 18,500 state Democrats participated in first day of early voting this past weekend. This is a considerable turnout that Democrats celebrated even as some voters voiced concerns over long wait times.

What early voting has been like: Wait times of more than three hours and a lack of volunteers at at least one precinct had some voters worried about the state's caucuses on February 22. The precinct — Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas — had just six volunteers present as of 5 p.m. Saturday. 

Nevada's Democratic Party leadership is hoping a strong early turnout for its caucuses signals a successful showing this weekend.

Why this community can't be overlooked in Nevada:

6:07 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Here's how to watch the town halls

Want to watch tonight's town halls from 8-11 p.m. ET? Here's how:

The town halls will air on CNN, CNN en Espanol, CNN International, CNN Airport Network, and stream on, CNN OTT apps for AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung SmartTV, and Android TV, and CNN Mobile apps for iOS and Android, CNN's SiriusXM Channels, and the Westwood One Radio Network.

5:57 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020

These 5 candidates will take questions at the Nevada town halls

Tonight, the first set of Democratic presidential hopefuls will take the stage for town halls hosted by CNN. Candidates who qualified for the 10th Democratic National Committee debate were invited to these town halls in Nevada.

On two separate days — today and Thursday — voters will be able to ask the candidates questions leading up to the state's caucuses.

Here are the candidates speaking tonight:

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will take the stage at 8 p.m. ET.
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be on at 9 p.m. ET.
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will follow at 10 p.m. ET.

Here are the candidates speaking on Thursday:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden will take the town hall stage at 8 p.m. ET.
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will follow at 9 p.m. ET.

CNN extended an invitation to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part of the network's commitment to hosting town halls with the Democratic presidential candidates.