In another sign of the fight left in Bernie Sanders’s campaign, the Democratic presidential hopeful appears to have picked up at least a couple of delegates in Nevada, a state where Hillary Clinton was declared the winner on Feb. 20.
Clinton emerged on caucus day with a lead of 20 to 15 in statewide delegates. According to a report from Nevada, that margin has narrowed to 18 to 17 after a second round in the process, known as the county conventions, which took place Saturday.
Sanders’s supporters flooded the largest of those, in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located. As a result of his organizational muscle and some complicated rules, the senator from Vermont managed to garner more support there than Clinton, despite her edge on Feb. 20.
Sanders also reportedly outperformed his Feb. 20 showing in other counties.
The upshot is that Sanders picked up some of the dozen delegates who were considered unbound during Saturday’s conventions, the rules of which were the source of a good deal of controversy among Clinton and Sanders partisans even before the events began.
Jon Ralston, a veteran Nevada reporter, said on his blog that Saturday’s action is “expected to switch two delegates to Sanders, giving Clinton an 18 to 17 lead in Nevada, but that is still pending the results of the state convention next month, when those 12 slots could again change. … Ah, the caucus process.”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon emphasized that the results could change again and noted some irregularities in the process on Saturday. Regardless, he said, Clinton still has more delegates in Nevada than Sanders.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said his team believes Sanders has at least narrowed the gap to a single delegate — and he raised the possibility that his candidate could actually come out of Nevada with more delegates than Clinton when all is said and done.
Weaver also complained about the messy process, saying on Twitter that the Democratic National Committee should take a hard look at whether Nevada deserves one of the first four slots on the nominating calendar. Its Democratic caucuses followed contests in Iowa and New Hampshire and preceded South Carolina.
The tussle over Nevada delegates comes as Sanders attempts to mount an improbable comeback against Clinton in the race for the nomination.
The senator has been on a winning streak but still trails Clinton in pledged delegates, 1,243 to 980, according to an Associated Press tally. Clinton is also buoyed by a large lead in superdelegates, the elected officials and other party insiders who are not bound by the results in their states.
The candidates face off again Tuesday in Wisconsin, and a much bigger showdown looms two weeks later in New York, where Sanders was born and where Clinton served as a U.S. senator.
Anne Gearan contributed to this report.