LAS VEGAS (CN) – Bernie Sanders won Thursday’s Nevada caucus, giving Democrats a clear front-runner in their push to defeat President Donald Trump in the general election.
With just 4% reporting in at 5:30 p.m. Pacific, the Associated Press has called the caucus for the Vermont senator after early tallies show him significantly leading the other candidates in every district in the state.
Anne Olah came to the Bellagio Hotel ballroom Saturday as a supporter for Elizabeth Warren, but she left a Joe Biden supporter.
“Blue no matter who,” said Olah, who has lived in Las Vegas 26 years and works as a floral designer at Bellagio, where the Nevada Democratic Party hosted an at-large caucus for people who work on or near the Strip. “We’ve got to get this moron out of office.”
Nevada voters, collectively much more racially diverse and urban than voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, fanned out to 125 caucus sites to elect delegates to the county conventions. Those votes will eventually lead to assignment of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July.
Pressure is high for a smooth process unlike in Iowa, where an app chosen to manage the caucus and other problems led to late results and a demand for a recount from Sanders and Buttigieg.
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez stopped briefly by the Bellagio on Saturday. He wasn’t ready to offer a guess as to when Nevada results will be available.
“It’s hard to give you a precise time when we’re going to report it,” he said outside the caucus ballroom. “We don’t know how many people are going to vote.”
Olah had to switch from Warren to Biden when she was among just six Bellagio caucus attendees who chose Warren – far below the 19 needed to stay viable. In a second alignment, Olah chose Biden along with 44 other people. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the big winner at Bellagio, garnering support from 76 voters in the end.
No other candidate made it past the first round of votes.
Corliss Gains, 61, has lived in Las Vegas for 14 years and worked in housekeeping at Bellagio for 12. She caucused for Steyer originally, because although he is a billionaire, she likes what he says about protecting people like her.
“He seems to care more about the underclass,” Gains said.
Steyer was also outside the ballroom. He started calling for a $15 minimum wage in 2012, supports a wealth tax and wants to break the “corporate stranglehold” on the nation, the hedge fund billionaire said.
“I’m an outsider, but so is everybody else in America who lives outside the Beltline,” he told reporters.
Turnout has been high in early Nevada voting this week. More than 75,000 people cast votes, according to the Democratic Party.
Sanders had widened his lead in national polls this week.
Real Clear Politics’ national polling average shows Sanders has the support of 29% of Democratic voters; Biden has 17%; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who did not register for the Nevada caucus, 15%; Warren 12%; Buttigieg 10%, Klobuchar 7% and Steyer 2%.
An Emerson College national poll released Wednesday showed Sanders with 29% support nationally among likely Democratic primary voters, followed by Biden with 22% and former New York City Mayor Bloomberg with 14%. Warren saw 12% support, then Buttigieg with 8%. Six percent in the poll chose Klobuchar, the final debate qualifier.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out Tuesday also shows Sanders leading all comers with 27% support. Biden came in at 15% in that poll, while Bloomberg and Warren tied with 14%. Buttigieg garnered 13% in the NBC poll, while Klobuchar polled at 7%.
This story is developing.