The Latest On The Nevada Caucuses
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We have news for the presidential race. Hillary Clinton has won the Nevada Democratic caucuses, the Associated Press projects. With more than 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton's lead stands at more than 4 percentage points. She declared victory a short time ago in Las Vegas.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
HILLARY CLINTON: Some may have doubted us, but we never doubted each other.
CLINTON: And this one's for you. I want to congratulate Sen. Sanders on a hard-fought race here, and I want to thank each and every one of you. You turned out in every corner of this state with determination and purpose - hotel and casino workers who never wavered...
CLINTON: ...Students with too much debt and small-business owners who never go off the clock, tens of thousands men and women with kids to raise, bills to pay and dreams that won't die, this is your campaign. And it is...
MARTIN: Well, as the Democrats faced off in Nevada, Republicans have also been voting today in South Carolina. With the latest from both contests, we're joined here in the studio by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving. So Ron, let's start with Hillary Clinton. How big a win was this for her?
RON ELVING, BYLINE: Absolutely essential, Michel, to restore the momentum that she lost when she was clobbered in New Hampshire earlier this month. She had to get that mojo back before she went on into South Carolina, which is a week from today. And South Carolina is really the fulcrum from which he goes on to Super Tuesday on March 1. She needed this to get her momentum back.
MARTIN: But Bernie Sanders had momentum heading into this contest. Could you talk about this for a minute? And I do want to mention that he has acknowledged the Clinton victory. He issued a statement just a few minutes ago congratulating her on her victory. But what did he do there?
ELVING: He has had an extraordinary surge throughout the last couple three months, really, when he brought his campaign back from needing life-support. And he has overwhelmed her in New Hampshire, virtually tied her in Iowa. If he could've won here tonight, he really would be knocking out all the props underneath her argument of inevitability. So he needed to do that, and he did it almost to the degree that he needed to. But he fell just a little bit short, a few percentage points. He went straight at the Latino vote, appears to have won the Latino vote in Nevada. That was crucial - about 18 percent of the vote overall and again, crushed her among younger voters, people under 30.
MARTIN: OK, very briefly - we have about 30 seconds - let's talk about the Republicans voting today in South Carolina. Polls close in just a few minutes. We don't have a winner get. Whatever things looking?
ELVING: We don't know yet who's going to win. We know a lot of people have a lot on the line. We know most of the people who came out to vote are evangelicals, call themselves born-again Christians. That vote is dividing itself among Trump, Rubio and also Ted Cruz. It is not clear who will take to it yet.
MARTIN: That's NPR's Ron Elving with the latest on today's presidential contest. Please stay with us on the air and online because the polls are about to close in South Carolina. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.