Nevada caucus results; Buttigieg has questions

Nevada Democratic caucus 2020 decision on CNN
Nevada Democratic caucus 2020 decision on CNN. (Screen grab)

Buttigieg has questions about “irregularities”

Nevada caucus vote counters may not be as bad as those in Iowa but, as of Monday morning, they were still scrambling to report the results of the caucus voting that ended Saturday afternoon. And “material irregularities” in the Nevada vote count prompted the campaign of openly gay candidate Pete Buttigieg to question the process and ask the Nevada State Democratic Party to release all data on the voting and “explain anomalies” in the data.

Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg

With 88 percent of precincts reporting in Nevada, reports indicate that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders won 40.73 percent of the state party’s county convention delegates. He was followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 19.69 percent, Buttigieg with 17.14 percent, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren with 11.21 percent, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar with 6.75 percent, businessman Tom Steyer with 4.05 percent, and four other candidates with 0.11 percent altogether. Another o.36 percent of voters did not commit to a candidate.

Although reporting is still incomplete, the results appear to secure Sanders as the winner. Buttigieg’s aim seems mostly like to challenge Biden for second place.

The February 22 letter from the Buttigieg campaign reports the campaign received more than 200 “incident reports” from around the state, alleging such things as failure to properly count votes cast through early voting opportunities or allocating such votes to the wrong candidate. The letter asks the party to release all early voting data and correct any errors in how those votes were allocated. The letter does not file a formal challenge of the results.

Both Buttigieg and Sanders filed complaints against the counting in Iowa, asking that tallies at 95 out of almost 1,800 precincts be re-counted.

The concerns and delay in final vote results in Nevada are now playing out in front of a political backdrop in which intelligence officials have warned Sanders that Russia is making efforts to help him win the Democratic nomination and help President Trump to get re-elected. And during last week’s debate, Sanders speculated that some of the hostile messages on social media being attributed to “Bernie Bros” might be foreign interference.

But from currently available data, Sanders appears to have won the Nevada caucuses with 41 percent of the vote. The three moderates in the race—iden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar—carried a cumulative 34 percent. The two cautious progressives in the field –Warren and Steyer- raked in a total 15 percent.

The current delegate count, including Nevada’s, shows Sanders in the lead with 34, Buttigieg in second with 23, Warren and Biden tied in third with eight each, Klobucar in fifth with seven. To win the party’s nomination, a candidate must secure 1,991 delegates.

Pete Buttigieg in Denver for a town hall meeting addresses “gay” issue again 

After the Nevada voting was done, Buttigieg rushed over to Denver for a town hall meeting, hoping to win support there for the increasingly crucial Super Tuedsay voting March 3. At the end of the town meeting, the local moderator called a nine-year-old boy named Zach to the stage to ask his question.

The moderator read the question: “Thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you.”

“Wow,” said Buttigieg, and the audience erupted into cheers around the large crowded meeting room, and started chanting “Love means Love,” as nine-year-old boy approached the stage. They shook hands and Zachary gave Buttigieg a bracelet, which Buttigieg put on.

“Well, I don’t think you need advice from me on bravery,” said Buttigieg to Zachary, as the crowd cheered again. “You seem pretty strong. To see you—it took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend I was gay, let alone go out there and tell the world. And to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of thousands people who’ve never met, that’s really something.

“So let me tell you a couple of things that might be helpful. The first this is that it won’t always be easy. But it’s OK, because you know who you are. And that’s really important because, when you know who you are, you’ll have a center of gravity that can hold you together when there’s a lot of chaos happening around you.

“And the second thing I want you to know is that you’ll never know who’s taking their lead from you—who’s watching you and deciding that they can be braver because you have been brave. When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was afraid that who I was meant I could never make a difference. And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make. I never could have seen that coming. And you’ll never know who’s like—who you might be affecting right now just by standing here. There’s a lot of power in that. And the last thing I want you to know, even if I can’t promise it will always be easy, is I promise I’ll going to be rooting for you and I think you there’s a whole lot of people here who are going to rooting for you.”

CNN will host its next round of town halls, ahead of the South Carolina primary February 29, and CBS will host Tuesday night’s debate in Charleston.

The Monday night forum will including one-hour segments with each of Sanders, Buttigieg, and Steyer, starting at 9 pm. EDT. On Wednesday night, the town halls will include Bloomberg, Biden, Klobuchar, and Warren, with Bloomberg leading off at 7 pm.

The Tuesday debate, starting at 8 pm., will include seven candidates: Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyers, and Warren.

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