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More than 70,000 people went to the polls this week in early voting for the Nevada caucuses, nearly eclipsing the total number of voters in the state's 2016 caucuses. The surge comes as many voters focused on the issue of health care, which may have benefited Sen. Bernie Sanders. Nevada Public Radio's Joe Schoenmann joins Hari Sreenivasan with more.
Joining me now from Las Vegas is Joe Schoenmann, news director and host for Nevada Public Radio. Joe, as I look at the NewsHour website, this is really early in the night 2.38 percent reporting. And so regardless of who has the lead now, when do the bulk of the votes from, say, Clark County, where Las Vegas is, come in?
Probably in about another hour and a half, maybe two hours. We'll see a lot more. The vote count here that we've seen was just updated to about 5 percent. Bernie Sanders has more than a double digit lead over second place, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg is very close to Biden right now. So first, second and third again, with only 5 percent of the vote look like Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg.
Any idea on how this breaks down? So much has been made about this is the first really diverse test for these candidates. Any idea how these votes are breaking in different communities?
Yeah. There is some breakdown in the Henderson area, which is a suburb of Las Vegas, which is not as diverse as the core, Joe Biden is getting a lot more votes. Culinary union members, surprisingly to some, are, seem to be coming out in favor of Sanders. That's a surprise to some because the Culinary had come out, which has 60,000 members, had come out in the last couple of months saying they didn't necessarily like Sanders proposal of Medicare for all because it might take away from their own health insurance plan. What was surprising is, I live in a neighborhood which is largely Hispanic, many culinary workers. When I woke up this morning after Sanders had a rally last night, I was surprised to see five to 10 Sanders signs in the yards of homes all around my house, which I'd never seen anything like that before.
OK. We are still chatting early in the evening. Any reports of any problems so far? This is one of the things that people are concerned about after Iowa.
One of our reporters was on the strip at the Real and the Bellagio and he said he was surprised. It was like clockwork, very smooth. So no problems so far.
Any idea how late this is going to go? I mean, best case scenario, the the local Democratic Party has said that they are not expected to finish everything tonight and have full results, right?
Yeah. You know, I would say that is probably a good bet if they're actually saying that. There were expectations, early on the party was saying they thought maybe be wrapped up early in the afternoon. But from those who've watched caucuses in previous years, this goes on into late in the evening. I think it will be wrapped up by 5:00 or 6:00. But as I said, the caucus is a strange animal. It's not like a primary. It's very different. And the counting is, it isn't just a straightforward count. There are alignments, realignments. It's it's a different, different beast.
All right. Joe Shoenmann, the news director and host for Nevada Public Radio, joining us via Skype tonight. Thanks so much, Joe.
And you can see all the real time updates to the votes that are coming in in Nevada on the front of the NewsHour website.
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