Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses, Fox News is projecting, furthering the democratic socialist's lead over his Democratic rivals and raising the question as to whether he can be stopped on his path to the Democratic nomination.
With six percent of delegates in, Sanders leads with 54.7 percent.
According to those returns, former Vice President Joe Biden is in second place with 17.9 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has 9.7 percent, and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 9 percent and billionaire Tom Steyer has 7.4 percent. Ultimately 36 delegates are at stake.
The closely-watched process began Saturday with Nevada Democrats optimistic that they would avoid a repeat of the technical glitches that plagued the caucuses in Iowa. Those fears led the state Democratic Party to decide to rely on traditional reporting by phone, rather than an app made by the same developer that created the app blamed for the debacle in Iowa. It has also scrapped a plan to use a Google Forms app loaded onto iPads.
"Nevada Democrats have learned important lessons from Iowa, and we're confident they're implementing these best practices into their preparations,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) spokeswoman. “We've deployed staff to help them across the board, from technical assistance to volunteer recruitment."
DNC Chairman Tom Perez told Fox News on Saturday that the party is in "great shape" ahead of the caucuses: "We have all of the early vote results distributed to the caucus sites. People are checking now…. I think it’s going to be a really exciting day."
For the first time, Nevada held early voting, from last Saturday through Tuesday. Roughly 75,000 people cast ballots, which was nearly as many people who took part in the state's entire 2016 Democratic caucuses. But since this is a caucus, the ballot was far from simple. Voters were given ballots to rank their choice of candidates. The early-voting ballots were then married with those of caucus-goers on Saturday – in both the first round and the realignment.