Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jane O'Meara Sanders
Updated February 23 at 12:55 a.m.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, dominated the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.
With 43 percent of precincts counted, Sanders was on track to win nearly 47 percent of the state’s county convention delegates — more than twice as many as his next closest rival, former vice president Joe Biden, who had 21 percent. Former mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., was trailing with 15 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 10 percent.
Speaking at a rally in San Antonio after the Associated Press called the race for him, Sanders hailed the “multigenerational, multiracial coalition” that led him to victory in Nevada and predicted it would “sweep the country.”
Indeed, entrance polls in Nevada — the first nominating contest with a sizable nonwhite population — showed him winning more than half of the state’s Latino vote, along with a plurality of the white vote. Every age group under 65 backed Sanders, including 65 percent of those age 17 to 29.
For the third time in as many states, Sanders won the popular vote — but for the first time, he was also on track to win a large majority of delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
Sanders’ victory in Nevada is likely to energize his supporters and bolster his fundraising as he heads into a critical stretch of the presidential primary. South Carolina votes next Saturday and 14 other states follow suit three days later on Super Tuesday.
Though several of Sanders’ rivals have warned in recent days that he could soon achieve an unsurmountable delegate lead, none have managed to emerge as a clear alternative. Instead, Buttigieg, Biden, Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have been jockeying for second and third place since the Iowa caucuses. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, is poised to make his first appearance on the ballot on Super Tuesday after having spent more than $420 million on political advertising.
Sanders is scheduled to campaign this week in Texas, California, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.