Why AP called the Nevada Democratic primary for Joe Biden

Campaign team member Chelsey Wininger helps decorate at the Biden-Harris for Nevada team first-in-the-West celebration, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has easily won Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary in Nevada, his second lopsided victory in four days over a mostly unknown field of challengers.

The Associated Press declared Biden the winner at 11:39 p.m. ET based on initial vote results in Washoe County, the second largest in the state, that showed him eclipsing the rest of the field. At the time the race was called, Biden led with about 89% of the vote, with “None of these candidates” a very distant second at about 6%. Self-help author Marianne Williamson was at about 3%. U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota opted to skip the first-in the-west contest in Nevada and did not appear on the ballot.

Since declaring Biden the winner, vote results in seven additional counties confirmed Biden's win, most notably in Clark County, home of Las Vegas and by far Nevada’s most populous. As of 1 a.m. ET, Biden led in Clark with about 90% of the vote, a vast improvement over the 24% he received there in the 2020 Democratic caucuses. That year, his showing in Clark was enough to earn him second place statewide because of its massive population, even though he finished third or worse in the rest of the state. Although results from the caucuses don’t provide an exact point of comparison, Tuesday’s primary results do indicate the president now enjoys a much broader base of support in Nevada than he did against a highly competitive field four years ago.

Biden will also win the lion’s share of national convention delegates at stake in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. As of 1:00 a.m. ET, The Associated Press had allocated 30 of the state's 36 delegates at stake to Biden. The remaining delegates will be awarded once additional votes are counted. According to party rules, any candidate who receives at least 15% of the vote either at the statewide level or in a congressional district will qualify for delegates. This includes the “None of these candidates” option that Nevada law requires to appear on the ballot for statewide elections.

On Saturday, Biden scored another big win in South Carolina, where he received about 96% of the vote in the party’s first official contest of the presidential primary campaign. In January, he skipped the unauthorized New Hampshire primary because it violated national party rules. He won the event anyway with about 64% of the vote after supporters mounted a write-in campaign on his behalf.