- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2020

The Democratic presidential hopefuls scrambling to build support for the Nevada caucuses are quickly running out of time as crowds flood early voting sites.

The early caucusing kicked off Saturday and 59% of Democratic voters plan to vote before the top candidates take the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday, according to a recent poll.

“I’m guessing not many people even know there is a debate Wednesday. Nobody is talking about it,” said Michael Greedy, chairman of the Democratic Party in Carson City.

The first two days of early voting in Carson City saw 1,238 of the roughly 9,000 registered Democrats cast their votes and the lines were long on Monday, Mr. Greedy said.

The early voting continues through Tuesday. The caucus will be conducted Saturday.

The early wave of voting is good news for Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who held a comfortable lead with 24% of the vote in The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Nevada Poll conducted last week.

Mr. Sanders was trailed by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden at 18%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 13%, billionaire activist Tom Steyer at 11%.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar tied at 10% at the back of the pack.

Undecided voters accounted for 13% of respondents in the Nevada Poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8%.

The poll also found that 59% of respondents planned to vote early.

The candidates will be aiming their debate message far beyond Nevada, with a quick succession of contests following with the South Carolina primary Feb. 29 and Super Tuesday primaries March 3.

“Nevada has a history of giving its caucus winner momentum,” said Donna West, chairwoman of the Clark County Democratic Party.

Mr. Sanders, a democratic socialist who narrowly lost to Mr. Buttigieg in Iowa and finished first in New Hampshire, looks to build momentum out of Nevada for a tough race in the first-in-the-South primary in South Carolina.

Five candidates have qualified for the Nevada debate: Mr. Biden, Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren.

Mr. Steyer, billionaire media mogul Michael R. Bloomberg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to earn a podium on the debate stage.

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