Updated Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus: How 2020 candidates reacted

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks after winning the Nevada caucuses during a campaign rally at Cowboys Dancehall on February 22, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.
Sen. Bernie Sanders claims victory in the Nevada caucuses during a campaign rally in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday night. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders hailed his grassroots movement on Saturday evening as "unstoppable" after he was projected to win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus.

The big picture: Nevada, a state with a diverse population, was the first real test of how candidates could connect with people of color. Sanders tweeted: "Our multiracial, multigenerational movement is not only going to win in Nevada. It is going to sweep this country." His 2020 rivals gave mixed reactions as results poured in.

What they're saying:
  • President Trump tweeted, "Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates. Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!"
    • The president later quoted in a Twitter post Fox News' Jon Scott saying, "The Kremlin is reportedly backing Bernie Sanders bid to win the White House" — in reference to a report that Russia had attempted to assist in Sanders' 2020 campaign. "Why didn't somebody tell me this?" Trump added.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted, "While not every vote in Nevada has been counted yet, one thing is clear: our comeback starts here. Now, we’re headed to South Carolina where we’re all-in to win." He later told supporters: "I ain’t a socialist. I ain’t a plutocrat. I’m a Democrat — and I'm proud of it."
  • Former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said during his caucus-night speech, "Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders as our one shot to take on this president, let’s take a sober look at what is at stake for our party, for our values and for those who have the most to lose. ... Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans."
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren congratulated Sanders during a town hall in Seattle and thanked her supporters "for keeping me in the fight, saying: "I’m not in this fight to talk about change. I am in this fight to make change."
  • Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign said in a statement. "The Nevada results reinforce the reality that this fragmented field is putting Bernie Sanders on pace to amass an insurmountable delegate lead. This is a candidate who just declared war on the so-called 'Democratic Establishment.'"
"We are going to need Independents AND Republicans to defeat Trump — attacking your own party is no way to get started. As Mike says, if we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base — like Senator Sanders — it will be a fatal error."
— Bloomberg campaign's statement
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar said from Minneapolis: "We have a great team down there, still working hard. They're counting the votes, but as usual, I think we have exceeded expectations."
  • Tom Steyer shared a video to Twitter of him telling supporters that he believed he'd do well in Nevada with official results yet to come in. He added to the post the comment, "Proud of everything we accomplished in Nevada. We're only gaining strength as the electorate gets more diverse and more representative of the country."

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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