Sanders Takes National Democratic Lead After Nevada Caucus Win

LAS VEGAS — Saturday marked a massive win for the Sanders campaign in Nevada. The Vermont senator took home a sweeping win in the Nevada caucuses, the third vote to be held for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

The weekend victory is giving Bernie Sanders a lead heading into South Carolina, giving his bid for the Democratic nomination considerable momentum as other candidates rush to make up the difference with voters.

“And now I’m delighted to bring you some pretty good news,” Sanders announced to the crowd, talking about his victory.

Sanders won Nevada by a margin so wide that he was declared the victor with only 4 percent of precincts reporting.

“We won the popular vote in Iowa, we won the New Hampshire primary and according to three networks and the AP, we have now won the Nevada caucus,” Sanders said.

President Donald Trump took to tweet to mention Sanders’ win.

Sanders also took to tweet with a message to his supporters about Trump.

The progressive senator won big with non-white voters in Nevada and delivered his victory speech in Texas, which also has a large Latino electorate. He said he was building a coalition.

“Now, Trump and his friends think they’re going to win this election,” said the 78-year-old Sanders. “They think they’re going to win this election by dividing our people up based on the color of their skin or where they were born or their religion or their sexual orientation. We’re going to win because we’re doing exactly the opposite. We’re bringing our people together.”

Some presidential candidates trailing him in Nevada directed criticism at Sanders in their Election Night speeches.

“Sen. Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” said Pete Buttigieg, Democratic candidate for president.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Sanders surrogate, attacked Buttigieg for that remark and others. 

Other candidates sought to reassure their supporters and undecided voters of their viability.

“You know, the press is ready to declare people dead quickly, but we’re alive and we’re coming back and we’re going to win,” said former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden.

In addition to Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren is trailing behind. However, instead of going after Sanders’ win, the U.S. Massachusetts senator took a page from the president’s book and attacked billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who was not on the Nevada ballot, on his height.

During a rally in Settle, she told supporters that she wanted to speak about “a big threat — not a tall one, but a big one: Michael Bloomberg.”

Also still in the fight: Billionaire Tom Steyer, who spent more than $12 million on Nevada television and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who hoped to prove her strong New Hampshire finish was no fluke.

Klobuchar, campaigning in her home state of Minnesota Saturday night, claimed Nevada success no matter her poor showing.

Sanders has seized the delegate lead from Buttigieg. The next nominating contest is in South Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 29, where Biden is leading in the polls. Sanders is close behind him.

Super Tuesday — where more than one third of the delegates needed for the nomination — is coming up quickly, held next Tuesday, March 3. Florida’s primary is now less than one month away — on March 17.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.