Nevada prepares for 'First in the West' Democratic caucus

  • Supporters gather at Ceaser’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • Hillary Clinton supporters celebrate her victory in the Democratic caucus in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • Supporters of Sec. Hillary Clinton at Harrah’s Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • The Democratic caucuses are held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2016. Here, a scene from Caesar’s Palace on caucus day.
  • Supporters of Sec. Hillary Clinton celebrate her victory in the Democratic caucus in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • Former president Bill Clinton makes a quick appearance at the Democratic caucus in Ceaser’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • The Democratic caucus at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2016.
  • The Democratic caucus in Harrah’s hotel, Las Vegas, Feb. 20, 2016.
  • A Bernie Sanders supporters holds pins during the Democratic caucus in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • Democrats caucus at Harrah’s hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2015.
  • A supporter of Bernie Sanders at Harrah’s Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20, 2015.
  • Noah Atencio, 10 months, and his mother Karla watch Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016. 
  • Bernie Sanders supporters in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
  • Manuel Valenzuela (center) comes out to support Bernie Sanders in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
  • Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders campaigns in Nevada on February 19, 2016, ahead of the Nevada caucuses.
  • The Democratic caucus will be held Saturday, February 20, and the GOP caucus on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.
  • A supporter listens as Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders campaigns in Las Vegas.
  • Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
  • A supporter of Bernie Sanders comes out Friday night before the Democratic caucuses in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
  • Bernie Sanders supporters in Las Vegas, February 19, 2016.
  • Bernie Sanders campaigns in Nevada ahead of the caucuses.
  • Bernie Sanders campaigns in Las Vegas, February 19, 2016.
  • Supporters of Hillary Clinton at a campaign event in Las Vegas, February 19, 2016.
  • Security keeps watch over a Bernie Sanders campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
  • Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton campaigns in Las Vegas, Nevada, ahead of Saturday’s Democratic caucuses. 
  • A Hillary Clinton supporter attends a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
  • A Hillary Clinton supporter shows his support in Las Vegas, February 19, 2016.

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LAS VEGAS -- They call Nevada the “First in the West” – the only state west of the Missouri River to play a determinative role in shaping who wins the Democratic nomination before the rush of Super Tuesday.

State leaders hail Nevada’s demographics as a microcosm of the U.S. electorate: Increasingly diverse as minority voters inch toward becoming the majority, with Latinos carrying the torch as the fastest growing bloc of the electorate.

Just a few short months ago, it would have come as complete shock to see how down to the wire Nevada’s Democratic caucus would be.

The major question question heading into Saturday’s race is whether Hillary Clinton’s “firewall” of support from blacks and Latinos will be able to hold against the insurgency of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, built from the ground up.

Clinton came to Nevada early and hard, setting up an expansive ground game statewide before Sanders had even formally entered the race.

Her roots in the Silver State must not be underestimated. She won the popular vote in 2008 – claiming key support from Latinos – only to be edged out by then-Sen. Barack Obama on the delegate count.

But riding off a virtual tie in Iowa and a win in New Hampshire by a more than 20-point spread, Sanders approaches Nevada with momentum at his back.

Days out from the Nevada caucus, polls showed Sanders whittling Clinton’s lead down to just a single percentage point.

On the eve of caucus day, Sanders stood with confidence before a rapturous crowd of fans and declared that 20, 30 years from now, they will look back and say this is when the revolution began.

“I have a feeling, folks, that we’re going to make history tomorrow,” Sanders said.

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