Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton campaigns in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 19, 2016.
Photo by Dina Litovsky/Redux for MSNBC

Clinton edges Sanders for Nevada win, NBC News projects


Hillary Clinton will win Nevada’s Democratic caucuses, NBC News projects, scoring a much-needed boost in the nomination race and depriving rival Bernie Sanders of a victory in a racially diverse state.

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The loss is a blow for Sanders, who hoped to use the state’s contest to prove himself as a viable candidate in a state with an electorate made up of more minority voters and fewer self-described liberals than the race’s earlier contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Days in advance of the notoriously unpredictable contest Saturday afternoon, the former secretary of state’s team had tried to downplay the significance of the Nevada results amid concerns that Sanders would pull off a win.

But Clinton ultimately gathered a coalition of minority voters, self-identified Democrats and union workers to fuel her victory. She was also boosted by a strong performance in Clark County - home to the city of Las Vegas and the state’s most populous county by far.

Unlike in the race’s earlier primary elections, campaigns and the press were flying relatively blind going into the day’s caucuses, with little reliable polling available for the state’s quirky weekend mid-day caucuses.

The race now turns to South Carolina’s Democratic primary next Saturday, where Clinton has a strong advantage due to her favorability with African-American voters. 

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