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Buttigieg takes Nye County with Sanders sweeping Nevada

The Nevada Democratic Caucus is now at an end and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in the Silver State, with a commanding lead at 6,788 county delegates, according to the state party’s results website.

Distantly trailing Sanders was Joe Biden at 2,972; followed by Pete Buttigieg at 2,073; Elizabeth Warren at 1,406; Tom Steyer at 682 and Amy Klobuchar at 603.

A minute smattering of county delegates also went to Tulsi Gabbard, along with one for a candidate who has already dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Andrew Yang. A total of 7 uncommitted county delegates were reported statewide.

Nye County on Caucus Day

In Nye County with all 33 precincts counted, the results were a bit different than seen statewide, with Buttigieg claiming a total of 47 county delegates over Sanders’ 41. Coming in a close third in Nye County was Tom Steyer with 38. Biden placed fourth in the county at 26; Warren came in with seven; and Klobuchar finished last in Nye with just five county delegates.

Caucus Day in Nye County was a somewhat subdued affair, with only 300 or so area voters caucusing from their precinct locations on Feb. 22.

The doors to area caucus sites were opened at 10 a.m. and those wishing to participate or observe slowly trickled in over the next two hours.

Dropping in at Floyd Elementary School in Pahrump, the Pahrump Valley Times witnessed precinct captains for the various campaigns setting up for the day, pulling out campaign signage, buttons, stickers and more to distribute to interested caucus-goers. Voters made their way to the tables set aside for their specific precinct and conversed with their fellow caucus participants, hashing through their varied ideas and opinions on the candidates.

Pahrump resident Teri Rogers told the Times she had no trouble deciding who she would throw her support behind, stating, “For me, I think Joe Biden has already paid his dues. He’s served this country for eight years. I like what he did when he was in office so his previous experience is a draw for me.”

Another area voter, who did not provide his name, said he was there that morning simply to observe as he had already cast his presidential preference ballot during early voting, selecting Nevada’s ultimate winner, Sanders. He said he was staunchly supportive of Sanders because, “He listens to us, rather than telling us,” adding that he had been following Sanders for many years, having been a supporter of his during the previous presidential election cycle.

Susan Robie, a precinct captain who was sporting a bright yellow “caucus for Pete” shirt, gave an overview of why she thought Buttigieg was the best candidate. “This election is so vital,” Robie stated. “I first saw Pete speak last April and I had this moment. Back when I was a teenager, I heard Bobby Kennedy speak and he just touched my soul, I loved him so much. Same thing when I saw Pete speak… He’s so thoughtful and intelligent and he’s had the executive training that we need but he also knows how to deal with small town infrastructure.”

Precinct captains for Sanders, Steyer, Biden and Warren were at Floyd Saturday morning as well.

When asked why she was out pushing for Warren, Barb Iardella explained, “First off, she’s a woman, she’s very sensitive to women’s issues and families. I think we need a woman because they think about families… And she is good on the environment and on Medicare. At first I wasn’t sure about Medicare for all but I have a friend in Washington who is dying and they cut her off her medical, because she can’t go to work. That’s the kind of thing that helped me make up my mind about that.”

Sarah Short, another resident, said, “I was a supporter of Bernie last time around and he’s been consistent on his policies for probably as long as I’ve been alive. He’s constant, he doesn’t sway back and forth with the political movement of the day. And he supports a lot of the same things I support, like health care for everybody.”

Short’s husband, Nader, said he liked Sanders as well but he was out as a precinct captain to encourage voters to choose Steyer, whom he felt was a better candidate. “I am a supporter of Bernie but on the whole, I am feeling that this country may not be ready for what Bernie offers. So I want the next moderate, the best, which is Tom. His background and record shows what he has done. He’s an honest businessman and he’s done a lot for kids. I think he is the strongest person against Trump, in the end.”

Touting the virtues of Biden was precinct co-captain William Blythe, who told the Times, “Personally, my wife would be dead if it wasn’t for Obama Care… So for us, Obama Care saved her life and of course, Biden is focused on protecting Obama Care. And I like his stance on gun control as well, with assault weapons, because that has effected us all.”

Primaries likely to become Nevada’s future

This was the very first time either major political party in America has offered early voting as an option during the caucus process and it was abundantly clear that the offering was well received by Democrats across the state.

In large metropolitan areas there were fours days of early voting, while in more rural areas like Nye County there were just two days of early voting.

A vast majority of those who participated in the caucus process in Nevada did so during the early voting period, including nearly 1,100 Nye County voters, prompting many to remark that perhaps it is time for Nevada to conduct a presidential primary rather than a caucus. Throughout the state, the Nevada Democratic Party reported that nearly 75,000 residents took part in early voting and approximately 30,000 came out on Caucus Day.

“Following a historic four days of in-person early voting, Nevadans gathered on Saturday to make their voices heard in the Democratic presidential nomination process,” a news release from the Nevada Democratic Party read. “The result was a surge in overall caucus turnout compared to last cycle and thousands of new Democratic voter registrations.”

The news release went on to quote Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II, who said he was very proud of the thousands of volunteers who put their efforts into the caucus process. “We accomplished so much together and showcased to the nation what a diverse electorate actually looks like,” McCurdy remarked.

He then turned to the future of presidential nominations in Nevada, presaging a significant change that many will be more than happy to hear about.

“With all of that said, I believe we need to start having serious conversations ahead of the next cycle about the limitations of the caucus process and the rules around it. If our goal is to bring as many Nevada Democrats as possible into the fold to select our presidential nominee, it’s time for our state party and elected leaders to look at shifting to a primary process moving forward,” McCurdy stated.

On the Republican end of the presidential race, the Nevada GOP hosted its winter 2020 state meeting in Pahrump on the same day as the Democratic Caucus, Feb. 22, holding a formal vote to endorse and bind its delegates to President Donald Trump.

More on that vote and the Nye County Republican Central Committee’s activities throughout the weekend will be included in a future edition of the Pahrump Valley Times.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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