Mitt Romney has won the Nevada caucuses. The early estimate is that he has 43 percent of the vote. John McCain and Ron Paul are second and third with 16 and 14 percent respectively.
Romney’s victory, aided by the attention he paid to the state and by strong support from its Mormon community, doesn’t have much significance, but it will extend his early lead in the delegate count.
JOHN adds: The Nevada caucus process goes through several stages, so we won’t know until April exactly how many delegates each candidate won there. It’s worth noting, however, that, notwithstanding the relatively little attention that has been paid to Nevada, it will send 34 delegates to the Republican convention, compared to 24 from South Carolina. You won’t see any headlines about it, but Mitt Romney probably had a better day today than either John McCain or Mike Huckabee, no matter how South Carolina turns out.
PAUL adds: I think the winner in South Carolina will have had a better day than Romney by virtue of winning a primary, as opposed to a caucus, in a state where most of the field competed in earnest. But the way this race is shaping up, the “momenturm” generated by South Carolina is likely to be minimal and the delegates Romney will win in Nevada should not sneezed at.
UPDATE: With close to 40 percent of whatever it is that “reports” in a caucus, Romney is now at 56 percent, compared to 12 percent for McCain and Paul.
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