Democracy was in the hands of a Las Vegas poker dealer on Saturday as a tie between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders at one Reno caucus site was decided with a deck of playing cards. Buttigieg’s representative won by pulling a three card while Bernie Sanders’ representative pulled a two card, according to footage aired on MSNBC. The precinct captain appeared to say that Sanders had pulled a three when she meant to say Buttigieg.
Idiosyncratic rules laid down by Nevada’s state Democratic party dictate that a single-card draw for the highest card will break a tie between candidates’ caucus groups. MSNBC host Brian Williams Matthews said that aces are high in the caucus contests, per the official rules. However, the Reno site decided on the spot, just before the draw, that aces were low.
“[Voters] may think it's exquisitely beautiful, they may think it’s a goat rodeo,” co-host Nicole Wallace said after the card draw. “You may love it [or] it may terrify you. I have no idea what voters think about anything anymore.”
Despite losing one delegate to a draw, Sanders had pulled ahead in early results from Nevada on Saturday. Despite opposition from the powerful Culinary Union, the biggest union in the state, he won support from casino workers on the Las Vegas strip.