Going into the 2012 Nevada caucus, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is favored to come out on top of the results. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum are nevertheless looking to make a splash with their respective performances.
(Click here to check out HuffPost's Nevada caucus results map, which will update with real-time data as the numbers come in.)
HuffPost's Ryan Grim and Sam Stein report:
The state's contest comes at an ideal time for the former Massachusetts governor. Knocked off balance by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, Romney picked up the must-win Florida primary. Nevada is a chance to deal Gingrich a quick second blow, and it's home turf for Romney. The state's outsized Mormon population came out big to Friday's rally, came out big in 2008 for him, and will come out big again Saturday. That leaves Gingrich battling for second place with Ron Paul, whose large and energized organization here threatens to put him past both Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
Check out the live blog below for the latest developments out of the Silver State.
The AP reports on confusion at a special Las Vegas caucus held Saturday night for religious voters who honor the Sabbath:
The Las Vegas caucus was supposed to start hours after the rest of the state concluded its Republican presidential caucuses. But party officials were still frantically trying to sign in voters an hour after it was scheduled to start, further delaying election results from Nevada's most populous county.
Part of the trouble was some Paul supporters told voters they could show up for the late-night caucus at a suburban Jewish private school for whatever reason. But voters could only participate if they signed a declaration affirming that they couldn't vote during the regular morning caucuses because of their faith.
Most supporters signed the declaration without hesitation, after confirming to an Associated Press reporter that they had missed the earlier caucuses for other reasons.
Ron Paul pulled out a win at that particular caucus with 183 votes, three times as many as Mitt Romney received.
Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week," Paul pointed to "chaos" in the Nevada caucuses. "The votes aren't all counted yet, and there seems to be a bit of chaos out there even though it was a small caucus vote. There was a lot of confusion. So, yes, if you go from second to third, there would be disappointment, but also on the positive side, we will get a bloc of votes," he said.
-- Luke Johnson
The crux of Gingrich's new plan is math: a complex analysis of each state's delegates, how they're awarded state by state and how many, reasonably, Gingrich can expect to win.
He will focus heavily on upcoming southern states where he expects his Georgia roots and conservative rhetoric to play well.
Read more here.
-- Luke Johnson
The New York Times reports that Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who has donated $10 million to a pro-Gingrich super PAC and who sits on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition, has made assurances that he will support Mitt Romney should he become the nominee:
The assurances have been conveyed in response to a highly delicate campaign by Mr. Romney and his top Jewish financial supporters to dissuade Mr. Adelson from adding to the $10 million that he and his wife have given to a pro-Gingrich "super PAC," Winning Our Future, that has been tearing into Mr. Romney through television advertising.
Several people who have spoken with Mr. Adelson over the past two weeks said he would most likely continue to help the group as long as Mr. Gingrich remained in the race.
Read more here.
-- Luke Johnson
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took the unusual step Tuesday night of foregoing the traditional election night speech in favor of a press conference. Gingrich was defensive, defiant and went aggressively after frontrunner Mitt Romney. The result, according to the anchors and conservative analysts on Fox News, was not pretty. Some of the reactions:
- Bret Baier, Fox News: "Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich -- we've reported that he was going to stay positive. That was not that positive of a news conference."
- Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist: "That was the best of the Newt and the worst of Newt. The best of Newt was at one point he talked about the issue we discussed earlier about the Obama campaign and the attack on religious institutions, and he talked about defending freedom in the country and he was good. ... But then there was the worst of Newt. He went into such detail -- this attack on Romney -- that it was astonishing."
- Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard: "There was not a lot of, honestly, graciousness, I didn't think, in his demeanor tonight."
- A.B. Stoddard, The Hill: "He came out and wandered into the minutiae about petty complaints, about a game he should have been prepared for. ... He was in the weeds. It was a very, very strange event."
- Stephen Hayes, The Weekly Standard: "This is what flailing looks like. This was not a pretty performance by Newt Gingrich. He at one point said that he didn't know -- he was very surprised that Mitt Romney was going to go negative after Romney lost South Carolina so decisively. If that is true, Newt Gingrich was the only person in the country who didn't know that Mitt Romney was going to go negative going into Florida. He makes these arguments that undermine the rationale for his own campaign. He says, 'Mitt Romney was dishonest on the stage next to me' -- what does he think Barack Obama is going to be? 'I was outspent' -- what does he think Barack Obama's going to do?"
-- Amanda Terkel
|@ TheFix : RT @ggitcho: "@NewtGingrich's press conference speaks for itself. I have no words." Romney comms director...,|
|@ aterkel : Bill Kristol: There was "not a lot of graciousness" in Gingrich's demeanor tonight.|
After telling reporters at his press conference to "take a few hours off from politics" ahead of the 2012 Super Bowl, Newt Gingrich revealed that he is rooting for "the team that beat the Packers" -- the New York Giants.
-- Paige Lavender
|@ michaelpfalcone : "We all thought it was kind of weird," Newt says of incorrect reports that Trump would endorse him|
|@ GingerGibson : Newt says he thinks he will do better today than McCain did in 08.|
GOP voters in Nevada congregated around the state on Saturday to caucus and play their part in deciding the Republican presidential primary. HuffPost compiled a list of winners and losers from the Nevada caucuses.
Click here to read more and make your pick for the biggest in each category.
|@ michaelpfalcone : Newt says Romney's campaign is one that "suppresses turnout," citing results in Florida|
|@ BuzzFeedBen : So as for new strategy: vague delegate promises, vague debate demands, Mass Moderate attacks.|
|@ ZekeJMiller : Gingrich says Romney campaign is leaking rumors that he'd drop out|
Newt Gingrich spoke with reporters while still awaiting final results from Saturday's Nevada Caucuses, insisting he "will be a candidate for president."
"We will go to Tampa," Gingrich said.
"There are some very big differences evolving in this campaign as we move forward," Gingrich said, contrasting himself with Mitt Romney, who won the Nevada Caucus by a wide margin. Gingrich credited Romney's Nevada win to the "heavily Mormon state."
"I am not going to withdraw," Gingrich said. "I'm actually pretty happy where we are."
Gingrich said it was the Romney campaign's "fantasy" that he'd drop out of the primary race, but insisted he believed he still had a shot.
He also addressed rumors that Sheldon Adelson -- who previously donated $5 million to Gingrich's presidential efforts -- is telling Romney he has his support if Romney becomes the nominee, saying it "doesn't bother me at all."
-- Paige Lavender
|@ samsteinhp : another two minutes warning from the gingrich folks. two minutes after the last two minute warning|
|@ reidepstein : Five states, five blue ties on election night for Mitt Romney. #sartorialtweets|
|@ FixAaron : Ron Paul is totally owning this caucus on CNN right now. Last 5 speakers all Paul supporters|
|@ mviser : Strong general election pivot? Not only did Romney not mention his GOP opponents, he didn't even mention he HAD any opponents.|
|@ michaelpfalcone : # of times Romney mentioned “Obama” or “Mr. President” tonight: roughly 15; Gingrich: 0; Santorum: 0; Paul: 0|
|@ ZekeJMiller : Closest Romney came to talking about his opponents tonight: "the other people running for president"|
|@ BenjySarlin : Saved best caucus for last RT @mollyesque: 3rd pro-Gingrich speaker at Adelson school: "The Bilderberg Group is behind Mitt Romney."|
|@ aterkel : Romney tells folks to remember why their ancestors came to America. Crowd is white. Prob different answers for African-Americans.|
|@ AshleyRParker : Romney: "We’re going to a build an economy where hope is a new job and a paycheck, not a faded word on a bumper sticker."|
|@ RGJRayHagar : If I am elected prez, my priority will b saving your job, not my own, Romney sez. Oh, I'll repeal Obamacare (& insert Romneycare?) #NVcaucus|
|@ GarrettNBCNews : In a Romney/Obama general election matchup, the magic number is 8%. Both men have used 8% unemployment as a target, albeit in different ways|
|@ ZekeJMiller : Romney: "unlike the other people running for President I know how just to do that" [get econ going]|
|@ CNNPolitics : Romney: "This president began his presidency by apologizing for America. He should now apologize TO America" #CNNElections|
Rick Santorum came in last in the Nevada caucuses on Tuesday evening. He brushed off the loss in an interview with Fox News, saying that his campaign didn't focus on and actively campaign in the state.
"I think you'll see very different numbers coming forth on Tuesday, where we've spent a little bit more time and a little bit more money. ... In fact, I'm the person who's best able to win this election," he said.
Santorum was more optimistic about Tuesday, when there will be caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and a non-binding primary in Missouri. (That state will also hold a caucus on March 17.) The former senator said that Missouri, in particular, was a key state for him because it would show whether he can go head to head with frontrunner Mitt Romney:
On Tuesday, I think we are going to do very well in Missouri. It's going to be interesting because it's a head-to-head between Gov. Romney myself. Speaker Gingrich is not on the ballot. Ron Paul is. We'll wait and see whether the idea that the one conservative who can actually go up against Mitt Romney head to head and win.
Speaker Gingrich had his shot in Florida, by and large. We didn't play in Florida. He had his chance to go head to head and didn't do well. We're going to go head to head in Missouri, and we'll see what happens.
I think we'll also do pretty well in Minnesota and here in Colorado. I am not predicting wins, but I think we'll do well. We'll do certainly better than we did in Nevada.
-- Amanda Terkel
|@ RalstonFlash : Romney speaking from Red Rock Resort, whose owners embroiled in nasty public fight, complete w/media campaigns, w/Culinary union. #nvcaucus|
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