Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton win Nevada Caucuses

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appeared be the winner Saturday in the Nevada Republican Caucuses in the bid to be the next President of the United States.

With 2% of the votes counted, Romney was leading his nearest competitors by more than a 3 to 1 margin, or having 45% of the votes. Romney, a Republican who polls between second and third nationally, appears to have been helped by concerns over the health of the U.S. economy, as well as worries over immigration. This is Romney's third win after winning his home state of Michigan's Republican primary on Tuesday and the Wyoming primary which was overshadowed by other contests

According to entry polls conducted by CNN on Nevada voters, immigration and the economy topped the list of concerns - far exceeding concerns about Iraq and the War on Terror, issues generally thought to be weak spots for the Romney campaign. 38% of those polled believed the economy comes first.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), a long-shot candidate who once ran on the Libertarian ticket, and U.S. Senator John McCain were in a fight for second. Paul has 14% with McCain currently trailing at 13%. Democrats also cast votes Saturday, with results expected later in the afternoon.

The Nevada caucuses were largely overshadowed by the Republican South Carolina primary, which is being held on the same day. This was part of a strange campaign irony, as Nevada will send more delegates to the Republican National Convention in September. South Carolina was stripped of half its delegates after violating party rules by holding a primary contest before Super Tuesday.

New York state Senator Hillary Clinton has won the Nevada Democratic Caucus with 52% of the votes needed to win beating her opponent Barack Obama by 8% who had 44% of the votes. Hillary's win was boosted by minority Latino and women voters. There was some controversy over the fact that some at-large Democratic caucuses would be held in casinos, giving casino workers a chance to vote, the Nevada State Education Association and six individuals filed a lawsuit claiming this was unfair and would give more delegates then other locations and that this violates state law. Due to the fact that some of the Nevada State Education Association's leaders have endorsed Clinton and that the fact the lawsuit was filed two days after the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 endorsed Obama, lead some political commentators to state it was a proxy battle between Obama and Clinton.