But his general reference to “all campaigns” only further angered some of the union leaders, who, like many of the rank-and-file members, are women of color. Ms. Argüello-Kline said that she wished Mr. Sanders would have spoken out sooner to help quell the threats.
“He understands the world we live in, where there can be a shooting anytime at a church or a school or a casino — that’s the environment we’re in,” she said.
A top aide to Mr. Sanders, Ari Rabin-Havt, declined to discuss how the culinary union’s opposition may affect the campaign in the state, saying only that the senator has ”the utmost respect for them.”
By Saturday, though, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was seizing on the matter on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” condemning “vicious, malicious, misogynistic” statements by Sanders supporters even as the senator’s aides pointed to his comment that “anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of our movement.”
The response in Nevada to Mr. Sanders’s stance on Medicare for all also shows a split among two of his bases — union members and young Latinos. Several other local hospitality unions have endorsed Mr. Sanders, and young Latinos often cite his health care plan as a key reason for their support.
Even among culinary union members, there is a strain of quiet support for Mr. Sanders. In interviews with several union members over the weekend, several said they were backing Mr. Sanders regardless of what the union’s leadership said. Some said they felt stuck in their jobs because leaving would mean losing coverage, and they wanted family members to have access to care as well. “I think his medical plan is really good, I think it is good for everybody,” said Laura Alvarez, 44, a housekeeper at the Aria who voted in the early caucus at the union’s hall Saturday. “We deserve to have a good medical plan. If it’s going to be for everyone, I think that would be the best thing we could have.”
Even as the culinary union’s leaders criticize Mr. Sanders, their decision to not offer an endorsement of any leading alternative may have only helped him — a fact that has irked some of Mr. Biden’s leading Nevada supporters.
If no single rival to Mr. Sanders emerges in the days before the caucuses, Nevadans could render the same muddled or narrow verdict as their predecessors in Iowa and New Hampshire, a result that would benefit Mr. Sanders.
And veterans of Nevada politics say that’s looking even more likely in part because of the presence of a candidate who has spent more than $10 million in television advertising here but was less of a factor in the first two states: Mr. Steyer.