Latino Vote in Nevada Key to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton in Democratic Caucus

Latino vote in Nevada key to Saturday's Democratic caucus.

ByABC News
February 18, 2016, 11:38 AM

— -- Blanca Gamez of Las Vegas can't vote in her state's Democratic caucus on Saturday, but that's not stopping her from volunteering and serving as a precinct chair for Hillary Clinton.

“I’m undocumented and her message resonates with me because I know that she will fight for our families," Gamez said.

The 26-year-old sat in a circle with Clinton on Sunday here at her east Las Vegas campaign office. Joined by other DREAMers, she told the presidential candidate about her struggles.

“I live in fear every day that we’re going to get deported," Gamez said. Clinton not only promised the group immigration reform, but addressed the now open seat on the Supreme Court and how it impacts the debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

"In the case of the decision regarding DACA and DAPA, if there is no new justice appointed, then, as with other cases before the court, the decision that was decided will stay in place. And that was a bad decision. I disagreed with it, I don’t think it was the right legal interpretation," Clinton told her supporters at the meeting.

The Clinton campaign's conversation with DREAMers and Latino voters has been underway since staffers first arrived in the Silver State back in April and launched a listening tour.

In what's become a very tight race, Sanders and Clinton have been doing all they can to court the state's Latino vote, which is 27.8 percent of the population, according to a Census update from 2014. Whether it's Spanish-language ads or events centered around issues impacting the Latino community, their organizing efforts reflect Nevada's demographics.

“We are going to where they are at. Their communities, their high schools, their colleges. We’re holding immigration town halls. We’re outlining where the senator stands on immigration," said Cesar Vargas, the national Latino outreach strategist for the Sanders campaign.

Although DREAMers can't vote, they've become a focal point for both campaigns, living representations of the change both candidates are calling for in the immigration system.

"My sister is a U.S. citizen and she’s able to vote, so I’m going to push for her to go to the caucus. I’m going to push for everyone I know to go the caucus and have their voice be heard because their vote makes a difference in my life as well," Gamez said.

DREAMers from across the country who support Sanders are scheduled to gather in Nevada today to campaign for the Vermont senator, going door to door in Latino neighborhoods in an effort to turn out the vote.

"When we come into a state like Nevada that does have a larger minority population, a strong showing Saturday shows how electable the senator is and how much his message resonates with people and that it’s not just white voters," Sanders campaign spokeswoman Rania Batrice told ABC News.

But support in the Latino community means nothing for Sanders or Clinton without turnout on Saturday at the nearly 250 caucus locations throughout the state. Both campaigns have invested heavily in caucus training geared toward Spanish speakers, including the Clinton campaign's training dubbed "Caucus Conmigo."

The fact that voters can register at caucus locations, six of which will be located in casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, should help turnout in the Latino community. But the requirement of being at a specific location at certain time makes the outcome in caucus states notoriously difficult to gauge.