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Bernie Sanders wins backing of African American group in Nevada’s largest county

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Highlights from Bernie Sanders’s campaign, in pictures

WASHINGTON, DC- JUNE 14: Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders arrives at the Capital Hilton to meet with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday June 14, 2016. (Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)

LAS VEGAS — With both Democratic presidential candidates stepping up their appeals to African American voters, Bernie Sanders claimed one victory here just two days ahead of the Nevada caucuses.

The Clark County Black Caucus, an organization based in Nevada’s most populous jurisdiction, announced its support Thursday for Sanders in his contest against Hillary Clinton.

Yvette Williams, chairwoman of the caucus, said that Sanders’s agenda most closely aligned with that of her nonpartisan group, saying the endorsement of Sanders “wasn’t a very difficult decision.”

“His message really resonates when he talks about income inequality, racial justice and prison reform,” Williams said.

Democrats scramble for pivotal bloc in the next 2 contests: Minority voters

She said her organization has the potential to provide a boost to Sanders heading into Saturday’s caucuses.

“We are all registered voters and very much engaged and involved,” she said. “We’re the most active organization on black issues here in Nevada.”

The endorsement, which Sanders referenced during a dinner speech here to the Clark County Democrats, comes in a race in which Clinton started with a huge advantage among African American voters, including backing from elected officials.

Sanders has more recently claimed some high-profile supporters of his own, including Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the NAACP. The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, has been seeking to draw attention to a new report that questioned Sanders’s commitment to the priorities of African Americans in his home state.

After competing in Iowa and New Hampshire, two states that are largely white, Clinton and Sanders are now engaged in an intense battle to win the allegiances of African Americans.

The next two Democratic contests will come in Nevada, where 30 percent of the Democratic electorate in 2008 was black or Hispanic, and in South Carolina, where 55 percent of the 2008 Democratic electorate was black. In March, another slew of Southern states with large African American populations will vote.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders fight for votes leading up to the Democratic primary in Nevada on Feb. 20. (Video: Reuters, Photo: MIKE NELSON/Reuters)