The Democratic Party’s presidential nomination race is still crowded — and, according to those candidates, very much still contested — but one among them has been established as the leader.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was declared the winner of Nevada’s caucus on Saturday night, following a first-place win in New Hampshire’s primary last week and a very close second place in the Iowa caucus at the start of the month.
“This grassroots movement is unstoppable,” Sanders tweeted soon after various news outlets analyzing the results announced he was victorious. “Together, let’s win the Democratic nomination, defeat Trump and transform the country!”
Later Saturday night, only a fraction of the final results of the caucus had still been reported — but Nevada’s caucus had not been plagued with the same vote-counting issues as in Iowa.
Who will ultimately finish behind Sanders, 78, and in what order, remained less clear. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren had been in second and third place, respectively, with former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg in fourth.
Total votes for each candidate were also not yet clear.
Biden was the front-runner for the nomination for months based on voter polls, but he faded once voting actually began. He placed fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, but he has insisted he would rebound in larger and more diverse states such as Nevada and South Carolina.
While he improved in Nevada, it’s unclear if second place is enough to embolden Biden’s case to voters. South Carolina will vote next, on Feb. 29.
The Democratic candidates are now just 10 days away from March 3’s “Super Tuesday” when 14 states, including California and Texas, will hold their primaries. With so many results at once, that will likely give voters a clear look at who can win the nomination come mid-July when the Democratic Party holds its national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and names someone to face President Donald Trump.
A candidate must win 1,991 delegates over the course of the primary race. More than 1,300 will be up for grabs on March 3.
Sanders, who until Nevada had been in second place in delegate totals behind Buttigieg, is now certain to vaunt ahead after earning a majority of the state’s 36 available delegates.
The “Super Tuesday” date will also be the first time former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be on the ballot. The 78-year-old billionaire took an unusual route with his campaign, announcing his bid for the presidency in late November, nearly a year after most other candidates had launched their own campaigns.
Bloomberg — the 12th wealthiest man in the world — relied on his personal wealth to spread his message and has reportedly spent more than $337 million in a nationwide ad blitz.
He and Sanders clashed over their opposing views on wealth and taxes on Wednesday night, when Bloomberg made his Democratic primary debate debut in Las Vegas after earning enough national polling to qualify.
“The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses. What did I miss here?” said Bloomberg, who is worth more than $61 billion.
Sanders had his own response ready.
“Well, you’ll miss that I work in Washington, house one. [I] live in Burlington, house two,” he said. “And, like thousands of other Vermonters, I do have a summer camp. Forgive me for that. Where is your home? Which tax haven do you have your home?”
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