Clinton takes Nevada, must-win state for her campaign

Ron Kampeas

Voters chanting as they wait in line to get into a Democratic caucus at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2016. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Voters chanting as they wait in line to get into a Democratic caucus at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2016. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hillary Rodham Clinton bested Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Nevada Democratic caucuses, the third nominating state in the race for the party’s presidential nod and a must-win for the former secretary of state.

Clinton led Sanders 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent with 79 percent of votes counted, the New York Times reported Saturday night. Sanders called Clinton to congratulate her not long after the caucuses closed. Nevada is not winner take all, and both candidates leave the state with delegates.

Clinton, who once led Sanders substantively in polls, barely defeated him in Iowa earlier this month and then went on to a crushing defeat at his hands in New Hampshire — the first time a Jewish candidate has ever won a primary state. Nevada was seen as key to salvaging her campaign.

Her campaign said Nevada and the Feb. 27 primary in South Carolina, where she is leading in polls, would showcase her ability to turn out minorities and more moderate voters. Iowa and New Hampshire are overwhelmingly white, and Democrats in those states tend to be more liberal than the national party.

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Officials in Nevada’s substantial Jewish community expressed unhappiness with the timing of the caucuses, during the Sabbath.

Republicans in South Carolina held their primary Saturday and will hold caucuses in Nevada on Feb. 23.

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