Live blog of the Nevada caucuses
Voters check in as they arrive to caucus for the Republican presidential candidate at Palo Verde High School February 4, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
February 4th, 2012
06:11 PM ET
8 years ago

Live blog of the Nevada caucuses

(CNN) - Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses Saturday in the fifth state to vote on the road to the White House. The former Massachusetts governor was favored to win in the Silver State, becoming the first presidential contender this cycle to win two contests back to back. The caucuses were open to more than 470,000 registered Republicans who chose between Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Below is our reporting from our reporters and producers. See the results at and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Read more here.

11:43 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Newt is backing the New York Giants (95 delegates) over the New England Patriots (41 delegates).

11:40 p.m. ET
- @Jon2012girls: Sources confirm Romney fam is getting wild tonight in Trump's penthouse. We hear malt milkshake hangovers are the worst. #andweareback

11:38 p.m. ET - With 43% of the vote reporting, Romney received 44% support followed by Gingrich at 25%, Paul at 18% and Santorum at 12%.

11:36 p.m. ET - @donnabrazile: Memo to old school politics: Newt is being Newt. Ain't pretty folks...But, the fmr gentleman from Georgia will never surrender. Get over it!

11:35 p.m. ET
- When asked if he would run a positive campaign going forward, as previously reported, Gingrich said he will give positive speeches, but that it is difficult to get the media to cover positive events. Negative campaigning is part of the process, he said.

"I stayed relentlessly positive in Iowa, and I lost by 22 points," Gingrich said. "I think it is terrible the American system is reduced to negative ads, some of them false."

11:32 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he will have mechanisms to combat what he called Romney's "substantially dishonest" comments by the next debate.

"If you can't tell the truth as a candidate for president, how can the country possibly expect you to lead as president?," Gingrich asked referring to Romney's comments in the last debate in Florida.

11:25 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he intends to compete for the GOP nomination in every state in the U.S. and will be on par with Romney by the Texas primary on April 3.

"In a few more weeks I'll be ahead in Gallup again," Gingrich predicted of his national poll numbers.

11:22 p.m. ET
- @jimacostacnn: Gingrich accuses Romney camp of spreading rumors that he will drop out. Calls it "their greatest fantasy."

11:21 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Gingrich *again* dismisses Romney win in "Mormon" Nevada. Been doing that since Florida.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

11:17 p.m. ET - At a press conference in Las Vegas, Gingrich reaffirmed his commitment to the presidential race.

"I will be a candidate for president of the United States," Gingrich said. "We will continue all the way to Tampa."

He also criticized Romney over his "poor" comment earlier in the week, saying "I'm not comfortable with allowing people to languish in the safety net."

10:50 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Many heads exploded in Chicago during that speech

10:43 p.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: Best Romney line so far: “This president began his presidency by apologizing for America. He should now be apologizing to America.”

10:42 p.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: Romney: "We welcome any good news on the jobs front." Thanks to the "private sector" and "not you, Mr. President."

10:40 p.m. ET - Referencing the president, Romney told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Las Vegas that "Nevada has had enough of your kind of help."

10:37 p.m. ET
- @jimacostacnn: Ann Romney pointing out they've won in three swing states now: NH, FL, and NV.

10:28 p.m. ET - Appearing on CNN, Santorum said he expects to do better in Colorado than he did in Nevada and even better in Minnesota. He also said he has a unique opportunity to in Missouri, where Gingrich is not on the ballot, to prove his ability against Romney. Contests will take place Tuesday in the three states.

10:06 p.m. ET - @JohnAvlon: Romney NV HQ exploding in applause and chants of 'Mitt' as data comes in showing him in pole position.

10:02 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller called Romney tonight to offer congratulations, I'm told.

10:00 p.m. ET - Romney won the Nevada caucuses, CNN projects.

9:54 p.m. ET - Gingrich's daughter, Kathy Lubbers, said the campaign intends to continue through the convention.

"We're working toward a victory, we're working toward being in Tampa in August," Lubbers told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We're here to stay ... we're here for the long haul."

9:48 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Newt source tells me: "There's a plan all the way to Tampa. We're going to play strategically and will have resources."

9:44 p.m. ET
- @jimacostacnn: Romney's big challenge after NV is the improving economy. He says it's getting better. But not bc of Obama. Do voters buy?

9:40 p.m. ET - Santorum, addressing the Weld County Lincoln Day Dinner in Greeley, Colorado, said he refrained from engaging in "petty, personal politics" toward Romney and Gingrich because, "this race isn't about that."

9:25 p.m. ET - @psteinhausercnn reports that participants in a Las Vegas caucus, open late to accommodate Sabbath observers, were told to sign a form to declare they did not participate in earlier caucuses because of their religious beliefs. See the form here.

9:19 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN: In '08, @MittRomney won NV w/ 51% in 5-way race. So now what is "expectation" bar in 4-way? #cnn

9:15 p.m. ET
- @JohnKingCNN: Among men in #nvcaucuses, @newtgingrich 3rd, trailing @RepRonPaul and @MittRomney #cnnelections

9:12 p.m. ET - Josh Romney defended his father's "poor" comment from earlier in the week, saying it is difficult when you're on the campaign trail "24 hours a day for a few years."

"You're going to say things the wrong way," he said.

9:07 p.m. ET
- Speaking with @crowleyCNN, Romney's son Josh said there are no regrets in the Romney campaign about how he has criticized Gingrich or the ads run against the former House speaker. Politics is "a tough sport," Josh said.

9:06 p.m. ET - @David_Gergen: Do you agree? Irony of night - Romney gaining momentum in GOP race even as he loses ground in national race. #CNNElections

9:03 p.m. ET
- @SamFeistCNN: 9:00pm ET update CNN Exclusive Nevada vote count: Romney 4374, Paul 1986, Gingrich 1885, Santorum 1049. #CNNElections

8:58 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN: Whoa! Bolo replaces the sweater vest in Colorado. #disruptionintheforce #cnnelections

8:56 p.m. ET - While speaking with @GaryTuchmanCNN, Santorum said he is in Greeley, Colorado Saturday night instead of Nevada because Colorado is a state in which he can be competitive. Santorum said he's optimistic about his chances in the Tuesday caucus states of Colorado and Minnesota and primary state of Missouri.

8:52 p.m. ET
- @JohnKingCNN: In #nvcaucuses, pro @MittRomney again dominates ad spending, @RepRonPaul the rest. #cnnelections

8:48 p.m. ET - According to CNN entrance polling, 54% of caucus-goers said advertising did not impact their vote, while 41% said it did.

8:44 p.m. ET
- @JohnKingCNN: Where we began #nvcaucuses night, delegate wise, in the #raceto1144. #cnnelections

8:35 p.m. ET - @SamFeistCNN: 8:35PM ET update: New CNN Exclusive Nevada vote total: Romney 3510, Gingrich 1722, Paul 1656, Santorum 856. #CNNElections

8:17 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN: On an otherwise good day for @MittRomney: #cnnelections

8:15 p.m. ET - With 4% of the vote in, Romney leads with 45%, followed by Gingrich at 23%, Paul at 18% and Santorum at 10%.

8:07 p.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: About all the drama about what Newt will do next? FYI, he did that in Florida too. Anybody remember 46 states to go?

8:04 p.m. ET - @SamFeistCNN: New CNN Exclusive Nevada Vote Total: Romney 2715, Gingrich 1305, Paul 1034, Santorum 584. #CNNElections

8:02 p.m. ET - CNN's Paul Vercammen reports Romney won the caucus in Carson City, Nevada with 656 voters compared to Gingrich's 562, Paul's 268 and Santorum's 252.

7:52 p.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: Warming up for America the Beautiful? Guy strumming guitar in Romney ballroom. #CNNElections

7:50 p.m. ET - @David_Gergen: Lots of talk about who comes in 2nd Nevada. As best I can tell, only Romney has had good nite. #CNNElections

7:49 p.m. ET - Paul said even if he wanted to drop out of the race ahead of the convention, he couldn't because there would be a "strong rebellion with my friends."

"But we're doing so well there's no reason to think about that," Paul added on CNN.

7:47 p.m. - Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Mormon vote played a role in Romney's lead in Nevada but that he is waiting to "see if we do have a good 2nd place coming up."

7:45 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, a Romney supporter, tells a few reporters here that it's now time for Gingrich to drop out.

"I hope he takes the message that it's time to withdraw gracefully and not continue to divide the party. The message we heard at our caucus, and what I have heard from other people at other caucuses, was that while people stood up to talk about who their preferred candidate was, they also talked about the need come together and unite behind the nominee to increase our probabilities of success," Heck told CNN Saturday. "I hope that the speaker takes that to heart."

7:25 p.m. ET - @EWErickson: What I'm most interested in about Nevada tonight is whether Ron Paul comes in second or third.

7:22 p.m. ET
- The economy was the most important issue on voter's minds in Nevada Tuesday, followed by the budget deficit, illegal immigration and abortion, according to CNN entrance polling. And the most important candidate quality? Forty-four percent said their ability to defeat President Barack Obama.

7:13 p.m. ET - There are 28 delegates at stake on Tuesday that will be awarded proportionally.

7:04 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN: The original sweater candidate, @RepRonPaul, in Minn 2 nite. Fighting for 2nd in NV. #cnnelections

6:59 p.m. ET - @HowardKurtz: Ron Paul was smart to stage a rally now; with limited Nevada returns, he's live on CNN and MSNBC.

6:52 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN: Under 30k, 10% #nvcaucuses voters, give @RepRonPaul tiny edge on @MittRomney & @newtgingrich #cnn

6:50 p.m. ET
- Half #nvcaucuses voters call selves very conservative: @MittRomney thumps @newtgingrich 2 to 1 #cnn

6:48 p.m. ET - @stevebruskCNN: So where to next? Gingrich goes to Colorado Monday, Santorum is in Minnesota and Colorado next two days, Paul returns to MN Monday.

6:47 p.m. ET
- @JohnKingCNN: 65+ accounted for 35% of #nvcaucuses vote and @MittRomney won big. #cnnelections

6:45 p.m. ET - Paul, appearing at a campaign rally Arden Hill, Minnesota, said "It sounds like the revolution has already come to Minnesota," where caucuses will take place Tuesday.

6:43 p.m. ET
- @SamFeistCNN: New exclusive CNN NV vote total: Romney 2121, Paul 797, Gingrich 795, Santorum 366. #CNNElections

6:35 p.m. ET - @David_Gergen: Surprised when Newt today called the social safety net "a spider web"? Why are these GOP candidates stumbling over poverty?

6:34 p.m. ET - @crowleyCNN: Entrance polls in Nev. show 3 of 4 voters who say beating Pres. Obama is their priority are supporting Romney (pattern since IA.)

6:31 p.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: Metal plant that served as backdrop for Romney CO event received stim money. Romney said he was assured the money didn't create jobs.

6:21 p.m. ET - @kevinbohnCNN reports Gingrich mets with major super PAC donor Adelson in Vegas

6:15 p.m. ET - Only registered Republicans may participate in the GOP caucuses. Caucus-goers cast ballots for their preferred presidential candidate after hearing optional speeches from candidate representatives.

6:13 p.m. ET - Caucuses met at various times throughout Nevada depending on the county. All but one caucus site scheduled to conclude by 6 p.m. ET. The final Nevada caucus meeting in the state begins at 10 p.m. ET (that’s the special caucus in Clark County to accommodate Orthodox Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists). Caucuses in the rest of the state begin as early as 10 a.m. ET and end as late as 6 p.m. ET, depending on the county.

6:18 p.m. ET - According to CNN entrance polling, 57% of Nevada caucus-goers decided who they would back before January and 20% decided in January.

6:00 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN: Only surprise is % who list econ as #1 issue not higher. NV has 12.6% unemployment. #cnnelections

5:58 p.m. ET
- @JohnKingCNN: Large LDS factor in #nvcaucuses electorate. #cnnelections

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Nevada • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Newt gave us a hope

    February 4, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  2. CBHOhio

    Why is the press giving Gingrich a free pass on his attacks on Romney's honesty? Gingrich flatly lied to CNN's King during the SC debate, as well as some other more crafted lies, and nobody challenges him on his own personal honesty. Not only that, but he doesn't back up any of his statements about Romney's supposed lies...he just keeps saying Romney's a liar hoping the label will stick.

    February 4, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. Rene

    This is awful for mitt romney! After 6 years and 26% of the voting public in Nevada being mormons in favor of him, he cannot even get 75% of the GOP to go his way!?? And NEWT is actually beating Santorum and Paul by a much larger margin than expected so far when he did not spend any money in ads in NV, while romney ran 590 spots with 427 of them clearly negative attack ads and romney's staff members ("former") superpac ran another 123 negative attack ads! romney cannot come out of the GOP with a majority of the GOP AGAINST him and expect to win against obama! Despite all the PR telling us romney is the candidate that can win the White House against President Obama, it's obvious romney is so unelectable :_(! The GOP is toast if they split the party with a guy who can't even pull a huge majority out of his preferred Nevada voters!

    February 4, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Romney got 51% in 2008 that is gone now
    Go Newt

    February 4, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Where is GOP enthusiasm? They couldn’t reach 2008(worst year for GOP) turn out

    February 4, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  6. David

    Newt is out the clouds smoking cigars. He has to deal with the fact that most people simply don't like him on any level and aren't going to vote for him. At this point it's is now a worthless "vanity tour" for him. Newt is toast!

    February 4, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. Patty

    If you're a middle class conservative repub I hope you get what you deserve. The future will be the "haves" and "have nots" You WILL BE in the lower half. You are not in Romney's ball park in terms of wealth. He has no clue what it's like to be a middle class American, yet you truly believe he's going to make your life better. REALLY! I bet the people of Wisconsin who voted for Gov, Walker felt just like you and he threw them under the bus. JUST LIKE ROMNEY"S GOING TO DO for YOU :))))

    February 5, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. T'sah From Virginia

    Hi Kimi – I see you were holding the fort down – Way to go!! I was watching Air Force One, the movie with Harrison Ford. It does not matter how many times you watch that movie, it's still really exciting!!!!

    I guess with only 45% of the votes in and waiting for this last county – Dang, not too many got out there to caucus??? What a shame...LOL!!!

    Obama 2012

    February 5, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. David

    Romney now has super-heavy mojo massively working in his direction that may be impossible to stop now. I have no idea why Santorum even bothers o show up. He is always the super "low man." The numbers are the numbers. I'm amazed he is able to raise a plug nickle of campaign money. Whatever he's selling, few people want it.

    February 5, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  10. Patty

    yea right

    February 5, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. trix in ohio

    Gingrich is a Narcisist. If he has only won one state so far, where does he think the voters are hiding that are dying to vote for him?
    I think it odd that he's running for the president of debating of the united states of America. Does he think the presidents job is centered around debates?
    Calling Romney a liar is pretty incredible since Gingrich is the biggest liar of all! I think he's now running just to mess with Romney because Romney exposed his lies. It will now be harder for Newt to get those huge speaking fee's or to sell books filled with narcasitic lies.
    Romney is not my guy either however. Since when is $356,000, not a lot of money? Does he realize that 5 or 10% of the population doesnt come close to quantify the very rich & very poor. He's truly out of touch if he thinks that the number of people struggling and rich is under 90%
    Quite honestly as a republican, there isn't a candidate that I feel is any better than Obama. I may just stay home this year.

    February 5, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  12. Danny

    Obama and Romney are both dangerous for America. Gingrich 2012!

    February 5, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. Danny

    Obama even created a racist group; African Americans for Obama.

    February 5, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  14. Jason

    Any and all Americans voting for Ron Paul if you are not listed as a Republican you need to switch your party in order to get your vote counted for Ron Paul otherwise your efforts are useless. Good Luck all Patriots Fighting to save the America from Private Banks and Corporations who wholly wish to ruin this Country.

    February 5, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  15. Jason

    "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

    February 5, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. Four and The Door

    Thank GOD Obama Invested in America and helped support the re-engineering of the American Auto Industry – re-designed and #1 once again.
    So GM could invest in China. $250 million for a new technology center in Shanghai and plans doubling GM Chinese auto production to 5 million/ yr in 3 years. Your tax dollars hard at work. Building the middle class in China...

    February 5, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  17. Ditty1991

    i wanna see somebody change my mind about voting ron paul. please make sure your facts are correct.

    February 5, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  18. Stephanie

    Only 43% of the votes have been reported and Romney is declared the winner? Is it just me, or shouldn't 100% of the results be in before a winner is declared?

    "Voting for Romney" is one of the biggest mistakes that the Republicans will make. It's as if they are detached to all the pain and suffering that the Wall Street Bailouts caused and how that will be displayed against Romney. The task for him is daunting. First he must convince us that he's no wealthy Republican looking out for corporate interests. Second he must convince us that he's not really a flip-flopper on issues.

    February 5, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  19. Danny

    not a done deal yet

    February 5, 2012 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  20. Steve

    If all the people who said they like Ron Paul, but he can't win, voted for him... He would win... Ron Paul beats Barack Obama. Barack Obama beats Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney beats Ron Paul.

    Ponder that...

    February 5, 2012 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  21. marine iraq vet

    I got news for the people saying that bailing out the auto industry was good. If you want to be socialists move to a different country, All that does is let the gov. pick winners and losers. This IS NOT how a free market economy works people!! Also to the comment about the unemployment line for vets, I am one and disagree our military isnt going to shrink at all, what will shrink is our overseas spending which involves our military, there is a difference, one example would be how we spent a billion dollars on the embassy in iraq, there is a difference ,people see so black and white, we will not be any less safe, actually I would argue with us not interfering overseas we would be more safe. VOTE RON PAUL !!

    February 5, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. marine iraq vet

    another example would be us supporting our military overseas in various operations , that cost big bucks

    February 5, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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