Photo finish: Sanders holds Hillary to near tie in Nevada

Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders held establishment favorite Hillary Clinton to a near tie in the Nevada caucuses, closing a 40-point lead down to a few percentage points in a process marred with irregularities.

Clinton was the projected winner with just about 52 percent of the votes cast at local meetings spread throughout the state where she once held a 40-point lead. Sanders continues to hold a lead among delegates awarded by voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada although his opponent has more support among political insiders who comprise the ‘unearned’ superdelegates, or party leaders who are free to change their minds right up until the convention.

Sanders on Saturday congratulated the former Secretary of State on her victory in Nevada’s closely-contested caucuses and looked ahead to carrying his campaign for the White House to primaries and caucuses across the country.

“I just spoke to Secretary Clinton and congratulated her on her victory here in Nevada. I am very proud of the campaign we ran. Five weeks ago we were 25 points behind and we ended up in a very close election. And we probably will leave Nevada with a solid share of the delegates,” Sanders said.

“I am also proud of the fact that we have brought many working people and young people into the political process and believe that we have the wind at our back as we head toward Super Tuesday. I want to thank the people of Nevada for their support that they have given us and the boost that their support will give us as we go forward,” Sanders added.

“A few weeks ago, skeptics rejected the idea that Bernie would even be competitive in Nevada. Yet today, he has won a substantial share of the state’s delegates, demonstrating that he can be competitive across the country,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “The skeptics were wrong—Bernie’s message is resonating across diverse communities and his campaign is gaining support everywhere it goes. The results in Nevada prove that we have a real race for the Democratic nomination.

“Last month, when MoveOn members voted overwhelmingly to endorse Bernie Sanders, they did so because they want real change to a system rigged in favor of giant corporations and the wealthiest few and justice for communities facing oppression,” said Sheyman. “Bernie is doing more than simply challenging Hillary Clinton; he’s changing the way the American people participate in the political system, drawing record crowds and gaining the attention of young voters throughout the nation.

“Today’s results are a very strong showing. The Sanders campaign is well positioned heading to South Carolina, Super Tuesday, and beyond,” said Sheyman.

Elsewhere, reports surfaced showing that Clinton may have benefited from cheating. According to on-the-ground reports from Democratic caucus-goers in Nevada, the process is described as a “fiasco” where confusion and deception is rampant.

The Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ) reported that there were “long lines, too few ballots” at caucus locations. Gwen Ritchie, who was caucusing at Hug High School in Washoe County, told the RGJ that her caucus was supposed to start at 11:30 AM local time, yet she and others were still waiting by 12:45. Edwin Basl, who is caucusing at Peavine Elementary School, told RGJ that he was experiencing “Completely silly loooonnnnngggg waiting lines. This should be a primary vote, not a caucus process.”

Reports of too few paper ballots are widespread. In one instance, voters with no ballots were told to wait in line to see precinct captains, who had more paper ballots. After waiting for hours, voters were told that they had to move all the way to the back of the line.

One Twitter user captured video of Hillary Clinton supporters caucusing for the former Secretary of State without registering. When the person filming asked a precinct volunteer about it, they were told the Clinton supporters would register after caucusing:

There were also reports of supposed precinct volunteers registering new Democratic voters and automatically marking their preference for Hillary Clinton. Reddit user PPG113, who was caucusing at precinct 6686, alleged one precinct volunteer was working in tandem with the Clinton campaign:

registered early, followed directions at my caucus location. Had to reregister and the person copying my info attempted to marked me down for a differnt person than I told them. Only corrected after bringing it up 3 times…

The Volunteer was at the express desk, and no one seemed to know that were SUPPOSE to also still allow democratic party registration, though that is a different matter. Said volunteer clicked on hillary on his screen when I told him clearly Bernie, he froze, and on my third repeat, he corrected it as I stared at him. What, if anything it changes, I do not know since it was not my ballet sheet he was marking. After an hour or so, he happened to walk into my precinct and to the Hillary group’s tables.

A US Uncut report showed Hillary Clinton supporterschanging into t-shirts made to look like those worn by members of National Nurses United, which is one of Sanders’ most ardent union supporters.

 


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