The GOP is holding its presidential caucuses in Nevada tonight. The Las Vegas Sun is live-blogging the caucuses.
The Sun says that caucus-goers are encountering long lines and little discussion at caucus sites. It also reports that double-voting has occurred at one caucus:
The Republican National Committee says it is concerned about reports of double voting at a troubled caucus site in Las Vegas.
RNC spokesman Fred Brown acknowledges there have been reports tonight of double voting, long lines and not enough ballots at Palo Verde High School. Some people were being turned away and directed to another location.
Candidate Donald Trump stopped by the school as part of his last-minute campaigning.
Brown says the double-voting problem appears to be limited to one part of a caucus site where different precincts have been combined. The party plans to compare the number of paper ballots cast to the sign-in sheet to determine whether any double voting actually occurred.
I’m not sure that anyone familiar with the Nevada caucuses expected them to be other than a mess. Jon Ralston, the dean of Nevada political reporters, tweeted: “I don’t know of any org less prepared to deal with unusually high turnout than NV GOP. Also, no org less equipped to deal w/low turnout.”
Typically, relatively low turnout, “irregularities,” and the small number of delegates awarded combine to render the Nevada caucuses basically meaningless. But they are the only show that’s on tonight, so meaning will have to be found.
UPDATE: Turnout reportedly is unusually large, as it has been throughout the season for Republicans. But keep in mind that only around 10 percent of those eligible were expected to participate.
Looking at the entrance poll numbers presented on Fox News, it looks like Trump will have a very big win tonight. He’s winning the “angry” vote, the “not too damned pleased” vote, the anti-establishment vote, and the evangelical vote — all decisively.
He’s also winning the vote of those who rate immigration as their biggest issue, and that apparently is a much larger percentage of participants than has been the case in other states.
TRUMP WINS: CNN has called the contest for Trump. Once again the battle, to the extent there is one, will be for second place. There may also be some suspense over whether Trump gets to 50 percent.
UPDATE: With around 10 percent of the vote in, Trump is at 44 percent. Rubio leads Cruz for second place 24-21. The remaining 11 percent or so is split between Carson and Kasich, with Carson getting the larger share.
If these numbers stay roughly the same, Trump’s vote will just about equal what Rubio and Cruz get combined. This is a state (albeit a caucus one) where Trump would almost surely have won a two-candidate race.
If there is any good news at all for Rubio and Cruz, it’s that Nevada’s delegates will be awarded proportionally. So Trump probably will pick up fewer than half of the 30 delegates.
However, Trump will have nearly two-thirds of the 126 delegates awarded in the first four contests (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada).
Next comes Super Tuesday. Trump is poised to do pretty super.
With that, I will sign off.