Despite Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) closing what was a huge gap in the polls to nip at Hillary Clinton’s heels in Nevada, the former secretary of State pulled off a caucus win that her camp attributed in part to union support.
“Thank you to our brothers & sisters in the labor movement for bringing Nevada home,” tweeted her campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, ran her Nevada operation eight years ago. She beat Barack Obama by more than 5 points in the Silver State in 2008, yet the Illinois senator gained ground on her later down the line.
With 80 percent of the vote in, Clinton had 52.2 percent to Sanders’ 47.8 percent.
And with so few population centers in Nevada, the caucuses were won or lost in Las Vegas and Reno, where many of the caucuses were held at casinos and workers cast votes on their breaks. Clark County usually accounts for about two-thirds of votes.
Entrance polls showed that Clinton was buoyed by voters 65 and older — winning 74 percent of that group — and 56 percent of non-white voters. Bernie dominated with the 17- to 44-year-olds, winning 72 percent. Hillary got 57 percent of the women’s vote while Sanders got 53 percent of men.
And despite slamming Sanders on immigration, and her 38-point edge with Latinos in 2008, Clinton lost the Hispanic vote by 8 points today.
The Nevada caucuses are not winner-take-all, which means they’ll split delegates as in New Hampshire — a resounding Sanders win — and Iowa, where Clinton had the edge.
Sanders’ campaign said the senator called Clinton to offer his congratulations and is looking forward to the next steps in his campaign.
“I am very proud of the campaign we ran. Five weeks ago we were 25 points behind and we ended up in a very close election. And we probably will leave Nevada with a solid share of the delegates,” Sanders said.
“I am also proud of the fact that we have brought many working people and young people into the political process and believe that we have the wind at our back as we head toward Super Tuesday,” he added. “I want to thank the people of Nevada for their support that they have given us and the boost that their support will give us as we go forward.”
Clinton watched returns from a room at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, and emerged with former President Bill Clinton to address a rally of supporters after Sanders issued his statement.
“You turned out in every corner of this state with determination and purpose,” she said. “…This is your campaign and it is a campaign to break down every barrier that holds you back.”
“American are right to be angry — but we’re also hungry for real solutions.”
Clinton took more digs at Sanders’ platform against Wall Street, saying America isn’t “a single-issue country.”
“I have never believed in dividing America between us and them,” she added, saying if corporations “do the right things” she’ll stand with them. “We need more jobs, we need more opportunity.”
Clinton said she’d push the concept of more national service in the coming days.
Bernie decided to give the same platform speech he would have delivered with a victory. He told the crowd that he would soon be on a plane to South Carolina, where the Dems vote next weekend and Hillary is ahead by double-digits even though Sanders has narrowed the gap over the past several months.
Sanders predicted that, in the race for the Democratic nomination as a whole, his campaign could pull off “one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States” at the Philadelphia convention in July.
The super PAC formed by Karl Rove, American Crossroads, said that they and Sanders “helped Nevada caucus-goers see right through Hillary Clinton’s manufactured zeal on immigration reform after spewing virulent Trump-like rhetoric—and that one-two punch shaved Hillary’s 50-point lead a year ago to a slim, single digit win.”
“Even Democrats are starting to realize that you can’t trust Hillary Clinton, and we will continue to highlight her flip-flops, phony conversions, and Wall Street hypocrisy,” American Crossroads CEO and president Steven Law said in a statement.
The feeling is mutual, Nevada. pic.twitter.com/Z32JkpNKAp
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 20, 2016
No podemos permitir que un republicano gane las elecciones. — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 20, 2016