I don't have much commentary here. Just passing along events.
Romney Scores Nevada Victory With Broad G.O.P. Support By JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY
LAS VEGAS — Mitt Romney handily won the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, solidifying his status as the front-runner and increasing his momentum as he seeks to use the month of February to ease doubts within the Republican Party about his candidacy and begin confronting President Obama.
Mr. Romney ran well ahead of his three opponents on a night that delivered his second decisive first-place finish in four days, following his victory in the Florida primary on Tuesday.
Mr. Romney appeared elated as he took the stage at his election headquarters at the Red Rock casino hotel here, kissing his wife, Ann, who reminded the crowd that Nevada would be important in a general election, and hugging his sons before delivering a speech geared toward the fall.
“This is not the first time you’ve given me your vote of confidence, and this time I’m going to take it to the White House,” he said as the crowd chanted his name. And he delivered a harsh critique of Mr. Obama: “This week he’s been trying to take a bow for 8.3 percent unemployment. Not so fast, Mr. President.”
Nevada offers only a sliver of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, making it more of a symbolic triumph than a practical one. But it gave Mr. Romney an important opportunity to make a more assertive case that the party is finally coming together behind him.
And it gave him an advantage in his attempt to dispatch his chief Republican rival, Newt Gingrich, through the contests this week in Colorado, Minnesota and Maine.
“We elected this president to lead. He chose to follow,” Mr. Romney said, gently turning his attention to his hoped-for general election campaign against Mr. Obama during an afternoon visit to Colorado. “Now it’s time for him to get out of the way.”
The early results further deflated the once-vital challenge posed by Mr. Gingrich, girding for a rough few weeks of political weather during which Mr. Romney is expected to do well. But Mr. Gingrich hopes to revive his chances with stronger showings in the 11 states that vote on March 6, “Super Tuesday.”
Far from competing with Mr. Romney here in Nevada on Saturday, early results showed that Mr. Gingrich was running neck and neck with Representative Ron Paul of Texas for a claim on second place.
Mr. Gingrich was once again in the position of vowing to carry on in the face of questions about his future viability. He took his second straight defeat to Mr. Romney as an opportunity to hold a press briefing to outline his strategy.
Aides said that he had spent the past four days hunkered down in the sprawling complex of the Venetian and Palazzo casinos — owned by his supporter Sheldon Adelson — planning a new way forward. He has settled on what one of them described as a “definitional campaign” to disqualify Mr. Romney in the eyes of Republican voters in the coming weeks.
Speaking on condition of anonymity before Mr. Gingrich met with reporters late Saturday night, one aide said Mr. Romney’s campaign team would be “disappointed” to learn that Mr. Gingrich will stay in the race until the party’s convention in Tampa this summer or until “they drop out, whichever comes first.”
The Nevada Republican Party disclosed the results slowly on Saturday, with a patchwork of votes coming in from across the state, while Clark County, the state’s largest, which includes half of the electorate, did not disclose its results until after a handful of evening caucuses that were held to allow observant Jews to participate.
Nevada is almost considered home turf for Mr. Romney, who is Mormon. The state has a large share of Mormons, roughly one quarter of Republican caucusgoers, according to entrance polls. And it shares a border with Utah, where Mr. Romney won credit for saving the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics. But Nevada’s results may say little about the political terrain nationally, since far fewer caucusgoers appeared to have turned out than the number of Republicans who did so at the Iowa caucuses last month.
Mr. Romney was hoping that a strong victory in Nevada, four days after a commanding finish in the Florida primary, would strengthen his hand among the ranks of Republicans who remained skeptical of his candidacy and his conservative foundation.
And there were some encouraging signs in polls of Nevadans entering caucus sites on Saturday, conducted by Edison Research for the national election pool of television networks and The Associated Press.
He won with a broad coalition of voters that included groups that he has struggled with in previous contests, including very conservative voters, strong Tea Party supporters and evangelical Christians.
The state has the largest share of voters who call themselves strong Tea Party supporters of any of the states that have participated in the Republican nominating contest so far. These voters are presumably a vital part of Mr. Gingrich’s coalition of supporters. Yet Mr. Romney won a higher percentage of them than did Mr. Gingrich, according to the entrance poll.
More than 4 in 10 of the caucusgoers surveyed Saturday said the quality that mattered most to them in a candidate was his ability to beat Mr. Obama in the fall; nearly three-quarters of them said they backed Mr. Romney.
The top issue on the minds of caucusgoers on Saturday was the economy, and 6 in 10 of those who listed it as their leading concern voted for Mr. Romney, potentially bolstering him in his argument that his experience as a businessman makes him the best candidate to bring jobs back more quickly. He was supported by almost half of those who said the federal deficit was their biggest concern. Mr. Paul was supported by a quarter of them. (Mr. Gingrich drew support from a fifth of them.)
Mr. Paul began building his organization in Nevada early. But he made it clear on Saturday that he is more focused on drawing attention to his issues of limited government, limited deficits and a restrained military than on winning.
Before there was any indication Saturday of how he would fare in that race for second place, he addressed a boisterous crowd of supporters in Minnesota, which holds its contest on Tuesday, with a trademark speech. “Something pretty big is happening in this country,” he said, portraying the support he did have here as a vote for “less government, less war and a free market economy.”
Mr. Paul, like Mr. Gingrich, has said he intends to keep competing through the entire Republican nominating process in an effort to acquire delegates — awarded in more than half the states on a basis that is generally proportional to the share of the vote each candidate wins — and have a voice at the convention.
Mr. Paul has largely shied away from directly criticizing Mr. Romney, and his aides have indicated that his continued campaign is far less bothersome to them than Mr. Gingrich’s.
With Mr. Romney heading into much friendlier political territory over the next month, a big question hanging over the campaigns here is whether Mr. Gingrich will be able to revive his chances.
Mr. Gingrich was pinning his hopes on strong showings in the later contests, including in his home state of Georgia. But history has shown that fewer things are harder to recover from than a series of losses.
But Mr. Romney, for all of his apparent momentum, may be unable to swiftly lock down the nomination, given that he needs to win 1,144 delegates; even after Saturday he had yet to get a tenth of the way there. His advisers are hoping that a series of strong performances in February will help wash away any lingering doubts among Republicans and help position him for the Super Tuesday primaries, when a larger share of delegates are awarded.
The next phase of the Republican nominating fight presents Mr. Romney an opportunity to test his message in several states that will be pivotal battlegrounds in the general election. He is poised to expand upon his economic proposals in the coming weeks, aides said, as the contest rolls through Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan and Arizona, all of which Mr. Obama is trying to win.
Perhaps the most disappointing showing went to former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who was in fourth place and has failed to show much electoral strength in recent weeks.
Reporting was contributed by Ashley Parker in Las Vegas, and Marjorie Connelly, David R. Jones, Allison Kopicki and Dalia Sussman in New York.
Romney 44% 10 delegates Gingrich 25% 3 delegates Paul 18% 3 delegates Santorum 12% 2 delegates
Turn out was pretty low, even compared to what primaries usually get. This is with 43% reporting, but this is what it's probably going to be spread as.
Next primary is in Maine, starting in February 4th, which'll run through this week until the 11th.
Gettin' real tired of you ducking me, man...
29th December 2004
No surprises here. It's unfortunate that Republicans learned nothing in 2008. They couldn't beat Obama with McCain, and now they're going to try to do it with a younger version of McCain, minus the military experience.
Apparently, they're hoping for Obama to beat himself. It may happen, but it's tougher when our guy can't even get the core voters of his own party excited.