Mitt Romney has won Nevada’s Republican caucuses, early results suggest

Mitt Romney has won Nevada’s Republican caucuses, early results from the western US state suggest.

Voting in most areas finished early on Saturday evening, but Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, held an evening caucus to allow observant Jews to participate.

Mitt Romney has declared victory. With nearly half the votes counted, he has polled 42%.

The former Massachusetts governor won convincingly in Florida on Tuesday.

Mr Romney won Nevada in his previous bid to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

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Nevada caucuses results

Source: Nevada Republican Party
Photo: Romney Romney 42%
Photo: Gingrich Gingrich 26%
Photo: Santorum Santorum 13%
Photo: Paul Paul 18%

42% of precincts reporting

He has won two out of the four contests already held this year, Florida and New Hampshire, and came second in Iowa.

His main challenger, former congressman Newt Gingrich, is trailing in second place with about 26%.

Mr Gingrich earlier said he expected Mr Romney to come first in Nevada, partly due to the state’s high Mormon population. Mr Romney is a Mormon.

As the results came in, Mr Gingrich said: “I run a campaign which twice now has made me the frontrunner and I suspect will again by the Texas primary or so, that really is a national campaign.

“We intend to compete in every single state in the country and I think you can count on us being competitive in every single state in the country.”

There are two other candidates remaining in the race, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

Mr Paul has secured about 18%, while Mr Santorum has about 13%.

Nevada has a population of 2.7m but only its 470,000 registered Republicans were eligible to vote in Saturday’s caucuses.

The votes are the latest stage in the state-by-state process of picking a Republican nominee to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in November’s general election.

The Republican candidate will be formally selected by delegates at the party’s convention in August.

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US Presidential Election 2012