Nevada Caucus Preview: High Stakes for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

The pressure is on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to snag a win in Nevada.

ByABC News
February 20, 2016, 6:41 AM

— -- On Saturday, Nevada will become the first Western state and the third state in the country to hold a Democratic presidential nominating contesting this election year.

And the pressure is on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to snag a win in what looks like a very tight race. In particular, both campaigns have been working hard to court the Silver State’s Latino vote, which is 27.8 percent of the population, according to a Census update from 2014.

Here is why the "First in the West caucus," as it's been dubbed, is so important for each candidate and what they’ve been doing to win:


In her first run for the White House in 2008, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the Silver State over then Sen. Barack Obama.

So, could it be déjà vu all over again for Clinton?

After a defeat in New Hampshire, it’s in Clinton’s best interest to put a stop to the "Bern-mentum."

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, acknowledged recently that they had expected the polls in Nevada to “tighten” but emphasized, “we believe Hillary is in a strong position to win.”

Both campaigns have invested heavily in caucus training geared toward Spanish speakers, including the Clinton campaign’s training, “Caucus Conmigo.”

Saturday’s caucus will gauge whether the campaign’s extended efforts have resonated well among the Latino community.


For Sanders, a win in the Silver State would represent a big boost for the Vermont senator's electability argument.

"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 spokeswoman Rania Batrice told ABC News.

Whether it’s Spanish-language ads or events centered around issues impacting the Latino community, Cesar Vargas, the national Latino outreach strategist for the Sanders campaign, says, “we are going to where they are at.”

Given the Clinton campaign’s early start on the ground in Nevada, a victory for Sanders on Saturday would be hard for his rival’s campaign to spin. Speaking at campaign event in the state recently, Sanders reflected on how far his campaign has come.

“We were 30 or 40 points down here in Nevada and I don’t think it’s going to end up that way on Saturday,” Sanders said earlier this week.