Bernie Sanders Wins Nevada Caucus, Locks In Front-Runner Status Sen. Bernie Sanders prevailed again on Saturday, according to The Associated Press. The state held the third contest in the nomination fight, but it was the first with a diverse population.

Sanders Projected To Win Nevada Caucuses, Solidifying Front-Runner Status

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Bernie Sanders is the candidate to beat in the Democratic presidential primary. Not all the precincts have reported yet, but the consensus is clear. It was Bernie's big night in Nevada.

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BERNIE SANDERS: In Nevada, we have just put together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition which is going to not only win in Nevada; it's going to sweep this country.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This means Sanders has now won two of the first three contests. He was also in a virtual tie for first in Iowa with Pete Buttigieg. But the Sanders campaign is clearly looking ahead to the bigger delegate-rich states voting soon.

NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow joins us now from Reno. Hey, Scott.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. The Sanders campaign was expecting a win here, and that's what they got. They worked hard in Nevada, especially with Latinos. In terms of how they won, is this the performance his campaign was hoping for?

DETROW: Oh, exactly what they wanted. There's been so much conversation about how Sanders was winning but with a quarter of the vote and benefiting from a crowded field. He has close to doubled that support in Nevada at about 46% right now with half of precincts reporting, so far ahead of anybody else. And beyond that, he won in a lot of demographic groups. According to entrance polls, he won with women, men, college graduates, non-college graduates. He did exceptionally well with Latino voters compared to the other candidates. And in Nevada, at least, Sanders suddenly has the makings of a candidate who can put together a broad coalition, at least on the Democratic side.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: After this strong showing, a couple of Sanders' Democratic rivals went after him in their speeches. The moderates are clearly trying to stop this train.

DETROW: Yeah. Joe Biden, the former vice president who came in second with about a little less than 20% of the vote in the caucuses - he said he's not a socialist, not a plutocrat. He's a Democrat and proud of it, hitting Sanders and Buttigieg as well - rather, Michael Bloomberg as well. But Buttigieg was notable. He was pretty harsh in his concerns about Bernie Sanders that he laid out last night.

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PETE BUTTIGIEG: I believe the only way to truly deliver any of the progressive changes that we care about is to be a nominee who actually gives a damn about the effect you are having from the top of the ticket on those critical frontline House and Senate Democrats that we need to win.

DETROW: And Buttigieg is referring to something that a lot of party leaders are worried about - that Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist, could really undo a lot of the gains the party has made in the suburbs, which are, of course, where the party won back control of the House of Representatives. So after those criticisms, it was notable to me that Sanders takes the stage in Texas and gives what would sound a lot like a possible general election message against President Trump.

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SANDERS: We are going to win here in Texas. We are going to...

(CHEERING)

SANDERS: We are going to win across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time.

(CHEERING)

DETROW: With the case there that he could build a much broader coalition than the president in the fall.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Interesting that Sanders was already in Texas there. What does that tell you, just briefly, about his strategy going forward?

DETROW: The big focus for the Sanders campaign is March 3, when a third of delegates are at stake. They will be competing in South Carolina. They say they're going to try and win. But it was notable that this week, he spent a lot of time in California and Texas, the two biggest delegate prizes. The campaign's goal, according to the campaign manager - open up a lead on March 3; never give it back. And the fact that there wasn't much clarity with the rest of the field in Nevada helps Sanders. Biden and Buttigieg are still fighting for the same voters.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And that's NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow. Thanks so much.

DETROW: Sure thing.

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