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Clinton carries county by wider margain than state

Pahrump helped propel Hillary Clinton to victory in Nye County, with the former secretary of state capturing the Nevada Caucus on Saturday.

Clinton beat Bernie Sanders 59 percent to 41 percent in the county, a much wider margin of support than the 53 percent to 47 percent she received statewide.

Pahrump Democrats took to several caucus sites to cast votes for their candidates morning along with the rest of the state.

Prior to the caucus kickoff on Saturday morning, lines could be seen outside of several Pahrump locations including Hafen Elementary School and Floyd Elementary School. Many voters said they had decided about their candidate.

The statewide numbers mirror those from 2008, when then-Sen. Barrack Obama lost Nevada to Clinton by almost six points, 45 to 50.8 percent.

Saturday’s caucus is the first step for Nevada to send delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Precincts throughout Nevada awarded 12,000 delegates to the two candidates. The delegates go to county party conventions in April, where county delegates are picked for the party’s state convention in May. Winners there go on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Nevada will send 43 delegates to Philadelphia. Of those, 23 delegates who worked their way up from the caucuses; 13 pledged and unpledged party leaders and elected officials; and seven at-large delegates.

The data provided by the Nevada Democrats’ website shows that Sanders had a strong showing in the northern part of the state, including Washoe County and the metro area of Reno and Carson City, as well as Elko, Pershing, Humboldt, Eureka and Lander counties while Clinton dominated in the southern part, including Clark County and Las Vegas, Nye County, Lincoln County, White Pine County and Mineral County.

In Nye County, Clinton carried all of the Pahrump precincts, while Sanders won most of the northern precincts.

Several online reports show that Clinton was given one delegate in tied Precinct 10 after a precinct captain drew a card from the deck to break a tie.

A photo of Pahrump Precinct Chair Peggy Rhoads posted on Twitter was captioned: “Hillary’s ace beat Bernie’s six.”

Nevada was once considered Clinton’s firewall with heavy union support and many Democratic politicians endorsing her. Sanders however finished five points behind her after his grassroots movement propelled him across the state. January polls showed that Clinton had a double-digit lead over Sanders.

A few weeks before the caucus Clinton and Sanders’ operations in Nevada were boosted by volunteers and staffers from Iowa, New Hampshire and other states.

Christopher Fleury of Vermont, volunteer for the Sanders campaign, spent a few days in Pahrump where he was canvassing door to door.

He said he found a lot of excited supporters in Pahrump.

“And the people that were excited, were quite excited. They are very passionate about it. Those that feel the Bern, truly feel the Bern.”

However, Clinton was bolstered by a Pahrump visit by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on Feb. 6.

Just before 11 a.m., Pahrump resident Christy Giles stood in line in front of Hafen Elementary School. Giles, who caucused for Clinton, said she would vote for any Democratic nominee in the general election but favored Clinton over Sanders.

“I will vote whoever gets in Democratic, but I’m more for her because I think she has the ability to get it through,” said Giles who was caucusing for the first time. “Anything, any changes that can be done because the Republican Congress just absolutely blocks everything.”

Standing next to Giles was Joe Penney, who said he would vote for Sanders.

Penney said unlike Clinton, Sanders had a “plan.”

“He explains to you what he will do,” he said about Sanders.

“She is for her to be the first woman president, not for us. That’s why I don’t think I want to go for Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Laraine Babbitt, who was walking to the Hafen Elementary School after the doors opened said she was still undecided but was leaning toward Hillary Clinton.

“I’m not the type of person who is going to vote for her just because she is a woman,” said Babbitt, who switched her party from Republican to Democratic. I don’t think that’s the way to vote for somebody. I think she has a lot of political experience, I think she would do a good job,” she said.

At about 12 p.m. when the caucus was supposed to kick off, the line was still stretching outside of Floyd Elementary School. Precinct 19 Chair Dennis Parker was passing along stickers for Hillary Clinton supporters. A staffer for the Bernie Sanders campaign was passing cups of water and chairs to people.

Henry Engelstein, field organizer for the Clinton campaign in Pahrump, said the number of supporters who showed up the the caucus was a testament of their hard work.

“I think it’s amazing,” Engelstein said about the process. “We’ve been here in Nevada since April, when the first staff arrived. I’ve been working here for many months working hard with an amazing team of volunteers to turn out the vote and a lot of people that we spent hours calling on the phone and hitting the roads in Pahrump to knock on their doors, they showed up to vote to support the candidate.”

Precinct 30 Chair Joanna Lien said technical difficulties bogged down the lane at Floyd Elementary delaying the caucus by almost 40 minutes.

“These processes can always be smoother, however I think given the amount of volunteers that we had, everybody worked extremely hard to get the process done as quickly as possible,” she said.

“I think it was a lot of fun,” she added.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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