Nevada caucuses: Pete Buttigieg alleges voting irregularities after Bernie Sanders victory

Candidate placed third in vital contest for nomination

Andrew Naughtie
Monday 24 February 2020 11:53 GMT
Pete Buttigieg warns against Bernie Sanders’ nomination

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has officially complained that the results of the Nevada caucuses may not have been accurately counted and reported.

In a letter to the Nevada Democratic Party, Mr Buttigieg’s campaign urged it to release data on early voting results, fix errors that might have arisen when counting absentee ballots and explain discrepancies the campaign found before any final tally is announced.

However, a representative for the state party said the campaigns understood how the reporting process would work before Saturday.

“We are continuing to verify and to report results,” the representative said in a statement.

“We never indicated we would release a separate breakdown of early vote and in-person attendees by precinct and will not change our reporting process now.”

Mr Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who won in Iowa and finished second in New Hampshire, appeared to secure third place in Nevada with 13.6 per cent. If the final results keep Mr Buttigieg below 15 per cent, he may fail to win delegates, the key to securing the nomination.

Mr Sanders’ latest victory is sure to stoke more concern among establishment Democrats who see him as too liberal to defeat Donald Trump in November. Now they have an additional worry that he may soon be unstoppable in his quest to win the nomination.

But the results in Nevada and the outlook for coming contests are doing little to push the rest of the field to drop out, leaving a cluster of more centrist candidates to divide the anti-Sanders vote and unable to build their own momentum.

Mr Buttigieg has lately turned his fire on Mr Sanders, saying that Democrats should “take a sober look at what’s at stake” before nominating him.

The next nominating contest of the primary is in South Carolina on 29 February. Mr Biden has long led the field in the state thanks to his support among black voters, but has seen his lead shrink as Mr Sanders has surged.

South Carolina will then be followed by “Super Tuesday”, where 14 states hold their primaries at the same time.

This will see the debut of former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who is ploughing hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money into the contest but was sent reeling by a disastrous performance in his first appearance in a televised debate.

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