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Clinton wins caucuses in Nevada

February 20, 2016 at 9:31 PM EST
Hillary Clinton edged out Bernie Sanders on Saturday in Nevada’s caucuses, capitalizing on a more diverse Democratic electorate to propel her to a crucial win in her presidential bid. NPR reporter Tamara Keith, who is covering the caucuses, joins Alison Stewart over the phone from Las Vegas to discuss the results.

ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: NPR reporter Tamara Keith is covering the Nevada Democratic caucuses and she joins me now by phone from Las Vegas, from Caesar’s Palace to be exact, to discuss the results.

Tamara, is this moment of victory for Hillary Clinton’s campaign or a moment of relief?

TAMARA KEITH, NPR REPORTER (via telephone): Oh, I think you can call it both. It is definitely a moment of relief. Polls showed it very tight heading into it and they absolutely needed this victory and they have a win.

It may not be a landslide win, but it’s a win and it’s something that, you know, they’re going to head into South Carolina next, where polls show Clinton way ahead. And they feel like they have able to — they’ve been able to stop or slow down Bernie Sanders’ momentum or Bern-mentum, if you will.

STEWART: What can we learn about ground game from this win?

KEITH: I think that you can learn the ground game is important. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was here in April they started and they did all kinds of activities, resume workshop with young people … and politics, women’s groups where they would meet and talk about politics. And they did that early and often.

Sanders’ campaign really didn’t show up until November and much of their staff came even later than that. And I think that you can see that, you can see the difference in the organization on the ground. And in a caucus state, especially, organization matters.

STEWART: Bernie Sanders’ concession speech wasn’t really that much of a concession. He talked about he would win the states ahead. What evidence is there that that will happen given the states that are coming up in the next two weeks?

KEITH: Well, there are states that he will have trouble with, like South Carolina, for instance. But then there are states on Super Tuesday. There are a number of caucus states and there are also states in New England where he likely has that same base of support that he showed in New Hampshire.

So, to think that it is over tonight would be wrong. Hillary Clinton is still going to have a fight on her hands. But she certainly has to be relieved.

And Sanders is looking at this and saying, look, he’s raising a ton of money. He has the money. He’s going strong. He has energy of his young supporters. And his supporters would say, hey, look, in Nevada, he was able to show that he can get support of minority voters, maybe not — obviously not as much support as Hillary Clinton, but he was still able to show an ability to gain support.

STEWART: I want to pick up on what you mentioned about him sort of glossing over South Carolina and headed straight toward Super Tuesday with laser focus. What’s the calculation there? Why?

KEITH: He is on his way to South Carolina right now, but he is definitely looking ahead to Super Tuesday because there are a ton of states voting on Super Tuesday, on March 1st and it’s far more favorable to him. He has not been able to chip away very well at her support with African-American voters.

Polls show that she is absolutely dominating with African-American voters in South Carolina and Sanders is — there’s a big map out there and a lot more delegates to be won and lost and he’s going for those.

STEWART: Tamara Keith from NPR, thanks for sharing your reporting.

KEITH: You’re welcome.

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