Fresh off the heels of disastrous and contested Iowa caucuses, the eight candidates still in the race to become the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States wage on.
Senator Bernie Sanders
Sanders now appears to be the front-runner after a narrow victory over former Mayor Pete Buttigeig, winning 25.7 percent and 24.4 percent of the votes respectively. Both candidates walked away from the Granite State with nine delegates.
Sanders also won big in Nevada with almost 50 percent of the votes, though not all precincts have reported in yet. His win should not come as a shock to most, as he has historically done well with Latinos, first time voters, and younger voters. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Silver State is 29 percent Hispanic or Latino, compared to just 6.2 percent in Iowa and 3.9 percent in New Hampshire.
Sanders’ win in Nevada brings his delegate count up to a commanding 31 and assures his place as the candidate to beat.
Former Mayor Pete Buttigeig
Buttigeig has done better than many predicted he would thus far in the race. He essentially tied with Sanders in Iowa but walked away with one more delegate. In New Hampshire he was just 1.3 percentage points behind the new frontrunner.
Buttigeig faces challenges on his road to the nomination, though. He continues to see little support among minority voters, especially among black voters. He also faces criticism from his opponents for his willingness to receive campaign contributions from billionaires.
Buttigeig placed third overall in Nevada, just behind former Vice President Joe Biden with 15.3 percent of the vote. With it came two new delegates, bringing his count up to 24.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Biden, the man long considered to be the one to beat, may have fallen off his pedestal. He called his fifth place performance in Iowa a “gut punch.” Additionally, during the New Hampshire debate, Biden said, “I’ll probably take a hit here.”
His camp still holds out hope for a win in South Carolina, where he is expected to do well with African-American voters.
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Warren currently stands in fourth place overall with eight delegates, but she’s hoping for a turn-around after a powerful debate performance in Las Vegas Feb. 19.
“So I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians,’” she said. “And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
Offensive seemed to be her go-to for the night, taking digs at Biden and Klobuchar for their ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, Buttigeig for his relationship with billionaries and Sanders, positioning herself as a fighter ready to take on big money and get things done.
Her campaign seems revived, but her fourth place finish in Nevada may be a signal that she still has a long way to go if she wants to be the one to face Trump in the fall.
Senator Amy Klobuchar
The Senator for Minnesota was the real star of the New Hampshire primary, shocking everyone with her third place finish. Klobuchar won 19.8 percent of the vote and raised her delegate count to seven. That puts her in fifth place overall.
Klobuchar’s positive performance is partially due to her success in the Democratic debate held just four days before the primary. Her central focus seemed to be attacking Buttigeg, calling him “a political newcomer” and building the case that she – more than Buttigeig or Biden – is the right choice for moderate Democrats.
However, her debate performance in Las Vegas left more to be desired, and she again spent most of her time aruging with Buttigeig. She placed sixth in Nevada, gaining 4.2 percent of the vote and no delegates. Styers narrowly edged her out of the top five.
Voters should wait and see if her strong finish in New Hampshire was a stand alone moment or the sign of big things to come.
Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg
Since entering the race late November, Bloomberg has spent $452 million of his own money on advertisements, more than any candidate has ever spent in their entire campaign, and he’s not even running in the first four states. This has drawn sharp criticism, with his opponents saying it’s an attempt to buy the election.
Bloomberg saw a rise in polling numbers after his late entry but faces heavy backlash from the other candidates. They have cited his role in the discriminatory practice of stop and frisk while mayor of New York City – a policy he defended publicly until October 2019.
Bloomberg was also called out for his history with sexual harassment and discrimination. Nearly forty women have sued either him or his company. Many of these women are silenced by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), something his fellow candidates have pressured him to void.
In a press release Feb. 21, Bloomberg said that he was part of three NDAs, and that he would release any woman from them if they contacted his company. This comes after stating multiple times on the campaign trail that he would not release women from NDAs.
During the debate, Bloomberg appeared ill-prepared for the onslaught of attacks he received, but voters will have to wait until Super Tuesday – March 3 – to see how criticisms will affect the multi-billionaire. He is not on the ballot for Nevada or South Carolina, but voters in the latter can write him in.
Bloomberg has yet to receive any delegates, as he was not running in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Who’s still running?
Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, and Tom Steyer, a billionaire and philanthropist, are also still running for the Democratic nomination. Both have yet to receive any delegates, and they did not qualify for the debate in Las Vegas.
In Nevada, Steyer pulled ahead of Klobuchar, making it the first state in which he’s broken the top five. He spent $986,471 on Facebook ads alone in Nevada in the last three months. After polling at least 12 percent in two polls in South Carolina, he’s qualified for the next debate.
Gabbard received zero percent of the vote in Nevada, less than Yang, Delaney, Bennet, and Patrick, who have all formally exited the race.
Who dropped out?
The Democratic field lost a polarizing figure in February, with Andrew Yang announcing the end of his run the night of the New Hampshire Primary. The businessman who ran on the idea of reorganizing the economy and universal basic income said the decision was rooted in the numbers.
“I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race,” he told supporters.
Yang marks the 20th Democratic candidate to drop out. The once ultra-crowded Democratic field has narrowed, but there’s still a long way to go before the Democratic National Convention July 13.