Bernie Sanders Declared Winner of Nevada Caucuses

Race was called for Vermont senator early with less than 10% of precincts reporting

Presidential Debate Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has won Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, the third big contest in the Democratic primary going into the 2020 general election, the Associated Press is projecting.

Even with less than 10% of precincts reporting, NBC News, Politico and other news outlets all declared a victory for Sanders early in the evening. His commanding lead over the rest of the field in Nevada was marked by at least a 35% edge over the next highest polling candidate, with Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren competing for a second-place finish.

As more numbers are reported, the rest of the race will be focused on that trio to determine who could get a boost of momentum headed into the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 and Super Tuesday on March 3.

Thirty-six delegates are at stake in Nevada, and as of Sunday morning with 60% of precincts reporting, Sanders has 31 delegates, Buttigieg has 22 and Warren has 8.

While Nevada’s contest did not have the “inconsistencies” that delayed the announcement of the Iowa caucuses final results and never resulted in an official “winner,” Nevada’s contest was not without criticism. When the vote at a Nevada caucus site ends in a tie, as happened in several districts on Saturday, the tie is broken by a draw from a deck of cards, with the candidate who draws the high card winning the precinct.

The Nevada caucuses followed the ninth Democratic debate of the election cycle Wednesday night, which broke ratings records to become the most-watched ever for the left, according to Nielsen numbers. The hype surrounding Mike Bloomberg’s debut on the big stage surely helped with that.

The primary debate aired on NBC and MSNBC from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, bringing in an average of 19.658 million total viewers. Of those viewers, 5.310 million came from the advertiser-coveted age demographic of adults 25-54.