Romney Handily Wins Nevada Caucus

Posted February 5th, 2012 at 1:40 am (UTC-5)
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Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney handily won the Nevada state caucuses Saturday, stabilizing his position as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. President Barack Obama in the November election. During his victory speech he quickly set his sights on the president, alleging the president turned his back on Nevada during one the state's worst economic downturns.

“Today Nevada unemployment is over 12 percent, home values have plummeted and Nevada foreclosure rate is the highest in the nation. I've walked in Nevada neighborhoods, blighted by abandoned homes, where people wonder why Barack Obama failed them. Well Mr. President, Nevada has had enough of your kind of help.”

Romney's win in Nevada comes less than a week after his big victory in the Florida primary.

In Nevada, Romney got more than 40 percent of the votes, posting a double-digit lead over his nearest challengers. Former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are in a battle for second, followed by former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Gingrich vowed late Saturday to stay in the race all the way to the party's nomination convention later this year.

Nevada is the fifth state – and the first in the western U.S. – to hold a presidential nominating contest.

Romney won Nevada the first time he ran for the Republican nomination in 2008, and was expected again to get a boost from fellow followers of the Mormon religion. In 2008, Mormons made up about a quarter of Nevada Republican caucus voters, and 95 percent of them backed Romney.

“We're going to build an America where hope is a new job with a paycheck not a faded word on an old bumper sticker. And I will not attempt to bribe the voters with promises of new programs and new subsides and ever increasing checks from government. If this election is a bidding war for who can promise the most benefits then I'm not your president. You have that president today. But if you want to make this election about restoring American greatness then I hope you join with us”

Romney's campaign now heads to the nearby western state of Colorado ahead of Tuesday's caucus there. Santorum was campaigning in Colorado Saturday, while Paul focused on Minnesota.