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ICYMI: NV Dems Dinner in Las Vegas Builds Excitement for 2016 First in the West Presidential Caucuses

Las Vegas, NV – In case you missed it, 2,200 energized Nevada Democrats rallied in Las Vegas last night in advance of our First in the West presidential caucuses on February 20th. The press may not be able to hear very well today (neither can we) after yesterday’s rowdy, raucous event – a reflection of all the excitement and enthusiasm from Nevada Democrats looking forward to our First in the West caucuses on February 20th.

Nevada will be the first Western state and the third state in the country to make its voice heard in the Democratic presidential primary. Here’s a quick look at some of the news stories from last night’s much-anticipated event.

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for support among Nevada Democrats on Wednesday night, looking beyond the leadoff contests of Iowa and New Hampshire to a state that could play a pivotal role in the nomination fight.

Clinton presented herself as the party’s best choice to defeat Republicans in the fall and preserve the legacy of President Barack Obama, promising Nevadans would “always have a friend in the White House if I am your president.”

“In January of 2017, a new president is going to walk into the Oval office and America can’t afford it to be a Republican who will rip away all the progress we have made,” Clinton said, as many of Sanders’ supporters stood silently, holding up signs for the Vermont senator.

Sanders was greeted by a loud cacophony of horns and vuvuzelas in his cheering section, telling supporters that Republicans suffered from “an illness called amnesia. They seem to have forgotten the conditions they left this country in” when Obama took office in January 2009.

While the former secretary of state has led Nevada polls, Sanders has poured money and staff into the state in recent weeks in hopes of pulling off an upset. Nevada follows Iowa and New Hampshire on the Democratic calendar and a split decision by the first two states could place a greater emphasis on the Western state, which features a much more diverse electorate.


The state party’s caucus dinner at the MGM Grand brought together about 2,200 activists, one of the largest gatherings before the state’s presidential caucuses on Feb. 20.


Nevada’s increasingly greater profile in the presidential sweepstakes has been promoted by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who has remained neutral in the 2016 race but has encouraged an active caucus campaign.

Reid has sought to give his home state even greater prominence, noting its growing Hispanic population and role as a competitive state in recent presidential elections. Obama won the state in both 2008 and 2012 but it was fiercely contested in both campaigns.

“No state reflects the growing diversity of our nation better than Nevada,” Reid said, before joining hands with the three Democratic candidates on stage.


In a competition of enthusiasm, the room offered a deafening roar at times as Sanders’ cheering section screamed, “Feel the Bern,” and blew into yellow vuvuzelas and air horns while Clinton’s backers chanted, “HRC,” and waved neon blue glow sticks.

Los Angeles Times

Hillary Clinton pledged to prevent Republicans from rolling back progressive policies in Washington. Martin O’Malley came out firing against Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And Bernie Sanders called for a political revolution to “end oligarchy in this country.”

The divergent approaches were on display here in Las Vegas, where each candidate tried to distinguish themselves during a dinner forum hosted by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

It was a rowdy night. The room was packed with Clinton and Sanders supporters, who set up on opposite sides of the room and tried to drown out each other with cheering, air horns and vuvuzelas.

New York Times

LAS VEGAS — Using strikingly similar pitches, Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland tried their best on Wednesday to persuade a room full of Nevada Democrats to support their bids to be the next Democratic presidential nominee.

The sold-out event, the Battle Born Battleground First in the West Caucus Dinner, was hosted by the state Democratic Party and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority leader. There was no debate or a question-and-answer session with the audience. Instead, each candidate made separate remarks, pointedly criticizing Republicans. They touched on their plans to keep Americans safe from terrorism, to strengthen the country’s economy, to move toward cleaner energy sources and to address social issues like protecting the working class.

About 2,200 people attended the $125-a-seat event, which at times felt like a sporting event with supporters of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders sitting in large sections on opposite sides of the room and taking turns cheering, waving signs and blowing horns with chants of “H.R.C.” and “Bernie.”

NBC News

LAS VEGAS — The three Democratic presidential candidates made their case here Wednesday night in an early state that may prove critical in securing the nomination. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley delivered speeches at the “Battle Born Battleground” caucus dinner, hosted by the Nevada Democratic Party and Sen. Harry Reid.


Wednesday’s dinner at the MGM was one of the largest Democratic get-togethers before the state’s caucuses are held on Feb. 20. Reid, who introduced the candidates, spent most of his remarks praising President Barack Obama and the Democratic candidates “who embody progressive values.” Reid, who has yet to endorse anyone, called Clinton a “friend to the state of Nevada for decades.”

The former secretary of state is leading in early Nevada polls, but Sanders has deployed a formidable ground game in the state in recent months.

Throughout the night, Sanders supporters used ear-splitting vuvuzelas and air horns to compete with Clinton’s hundreds of screaming fans.

Las Vegas Sun

The MGM Grand Conference Center resounded with horns passed out by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign and was lit with glow sticks from the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as about 2,200 raucous Democrats gathered to hear speeches from the party’s three candidates for president Wednesday night.

The Battle Born/Battleground First in the West dinner, hosted by Sen. Harry Reid, was the first time the three candidates appeared in Nevada since the debate in October and was a critical test of campaign support heading into the state’s nominating caucus on Feb. 20.

Clinton and Sanders were joined by former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, as well as prominent state Democrats, including Rep. Dina Titus, former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and the four candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 4th Congressional District.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Sen. Harry Reid wanted Nevadans to be heard.

At his dinner designed to celebrate the Silver State’s caucus position — third in the nation and first in the West — the excitement was near deafening.

About 2,200 people gathered at the MGM Grand to hear from the three Democratic presidential candidates. The raucous audience included Bernie Sanders supporters blowing vuvuzelas, which are louder than chainsaws and snowblowers.

Reid, D-Nev., hosted the “Battle Born/Battleground” First in the West Caucus Countdown Dinner in preparation for the Nevada Feb. 20 Democratic caucus, which follows Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Few states reflect the growing diversity of our country better than Nevada,” Reid said in opening remarks at the dinner. “This year is shaping up to be a year of historic opportunity for Democrats and we must maximize it up and down the ballot.”

KLAS Las Vegas (CBS)

KVVU Las Vegas (FOX)

KSNV Las Vegas (NBC)