Biden to grab second in Nevada, above threshhold to win delegates, NBC projects

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By Alex Johnson  with NBC News Politics
Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden posed for photos with supporters during an early vote event in Las Vegas on Feb. 18, 2020.   -  Copyright  Alex Wong Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden will finish second in the Nevada Democratic presidential caucuses, NBC News projected Sunday night, and will likely earn national convention delegates as he tries to regain momentum heading into this week's South Carolina primary.

Biden had polled 20.9 percent of the votes in Nevada with nearly 88 percent reporting. Biden will finish well behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who had 47.1 percent, Sunday evening. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was third, with 13.6 percent.

Candidates have to hit 15 percent both statewide and in congressional districts to receive a share of Nevada's 36 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Biden, who started the campaign as the Democratic front-runner but sagged as Senders raced to the top, is likely to receive some delegates based on his statewide vote total, but Buttigieg's statewide total remained beneath the threshold.

Biden has said all along that he didn't expect to show his real strength until the primary Saturday in South Carolina, where he has shown strong support among African Americans, who make up a majority of the Democratic electorate.

"We're alive, we're coming back, and we're going to win," Biden told supporters at a union hall Saturday in Las Vegas."