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
9 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. Matt

    Very frustrated with the caucus. My wife and I took our 2 kids to caucus this morning, voted, and left when we were told we were done, along with others in our precinct. Ten minutes later a friend texted us to let us know that they had used the incorrect pieces of paper and had to re-vote without the people who had left. Because of that mistake, Romney lost almost 50% of his votes but luckily still won the precinct. We wasted over an hour of our day to not have our votes count. I cannot explain how angry I am at the broken caucus system.

    February 4, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. John

    Seems like a done deal that Romney will be the nominee. Time to turn the focus away from bashing each other and concentrate on Obama and his failed policies.

    February 4, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. packerfans

    vote for Mitt Romney!!

    February 4, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Paula

    The turnout will be low because the voters thought Romney would win because of the media coverage.

    February 4, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. donna

    I think that "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. Third he must convince us that Obama has done a bad job. Fourth he must convince us that his ideas are much better and that he wouldn't make a worse President.

    I just don't see this happening with Romney. There is just too much of a load for him to carry through to a successful conclusion. (BTW – the @mittromney stump in the live blog at 6:47 is oddly placed – please keep your objectivity, CNN Political Unit)

    February 4, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. Paula

    The polls are not closed. Why is CNN streaming on their tv ticker the vote? The Obama network...CNN. Anything to hurt Romney and Republicans. Trying to show low turnout? this hurts Romney.

    February 4, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. Ja-Coffalotte

    Wow! 5,000 votes, truly of National significance.

    February 4, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. ryan

    its not over till is over, only 4 state,

    February 4, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    I think that "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.
    Donna, I think you will be pleased when you see who will benefit from the Romney Administration. Everyone in America now and after us. His agenda is to improve America for everyone, not just the wealthy Democratic doners or the Union bosses or the biggest banks. Mitt Romney is not a political hack like Obama. And just to mention it ( again), George Washington was much wealthier than Mitt Romney when he was in office and I think we all agree he did a pretty good job for all Americans.

    February 4, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  10. Tina Chaill

    Have to admit Ron Paul really blew it out of the water today.I have been waiting for the Repulicans to come up with someone and I think they did it today. I hope the media will focus more on him. Romney as far as I'm concered has bought is votes by the slandering adds. Period and very sad.

    February 4, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. christian

    There is no difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Barack Obama will beat MItt Romney. Ron Paul will beat Barack Obama. Ron Paul will end the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul will end war. Ron Pail will end the IRS. Ron Paul will end the IMF. It's time to use your heads and realize what all of this means. We will all have loads of more money and cash when the Fed is gone. Stop being so brainwashed by television. Seriously, this is really important. For the sake of those who are not ignorant and know what is right for us and have common sense, vote for Ron Paul or don't vote at all!

    February 4, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. once upon a horse

    @ Four and the Door...

    Didn't George Washington own slaves like some of the other men of his day? Well perhaps he treated them well seeing they were among the poor better than Romney probably would have.

    February 4, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. Laura Parisi

    I would like to correct the commentators in respect of the "mormon church". They keep mentioning it as The Church of Latter-day Saints", please know that the correct name is "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints", please refer to or for more information. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that people don't know that we truly are Christians. Thank you 🙂

    February 4, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Rose

    @christian exactly! Ron Paul or no one! All others are the status quo and believe essentially the exact same thing

    February 4, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. Richard in Mexico

    I'm getting frustrated by the Election Center coverage of the Nevada caucus'. They keep repdorting that Romney is winning 91% of the Mormon vote and 74% of the Tea Party vote.

    They're one and the same. The Nevada Tea Party is the Mormon church. Thus, Romney didn't pick up Tea Party votes. He just solidified his Mormon vote.

    February 4, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. moise william

    with iran being a nuclear threat, and may have develop or create a nuclear weapon what would romney policy be toward iran.

    February 4, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |

    "Metal plant that served as backdrop for Romney CO event received stim money. Romney said he was assured the money didn't create jobs." Really??? Romney and others were "glad" to be able to assure people that the "stim" money DID NOT create jobs! Whew. They really dodges one there... cause we wouldn't want to bee seeing jobs created by something Obama was involved in.

    February 4, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    moise william
    with iran being a nuclear threat, and may have develop or create a nuclear weapon what would romney policy be toward iran.
    I guarantee he would not sit down with them for three cups of tea...

    February 4, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. CanadaONE


    in a state where 25% of repubs are mormons and Saint Mitt only got 43% – that means of general repub pop Mitt got only 18% of repubs – HENCE when you factor in Democrats at at least 50% of the general pop – THAT MEANS that Mitt is only at best 18% and Obama at 82%

    OBAMA WINS!!!!!

    By the way if the repubs ever win we will sell our oil to China – we don't like repubs they created this mess to start with



    February 4, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. Rob

    The RNC chairman is a moron. All he can do is repeat whatever Mitt and Newt. What a waste of my time. The 3rd party is calling my name. I refuse to vote for tea partyers or Mormons.
    Ill vote for the Green party or write in Paul first.

    February 4, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. flushlimballs

    Congrats Willard mitt

    February 4, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Eva

    I think the discussion regarding Romeny's comment that he was not concerned about the poor is being taken way out of context. He did not say I dont' care about the poor as the comentators on CNN have been saying. If everyday folks realize the point that Romney was trying to make, why can't the folks who are suppose to be so smart figure it out? We all know that the population that has really been hurt these past 3 years is the middle class. This country won't be able to help the poor if there is no middle class. Why do you think the American puplic is so ignorant that they can't see through the smearing of Romney's statements.

    February 4, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. Rick Hampstead

    CNN is showing false results for Ron Paul all others are showing Paul in second.
    Ron Paul is supported by the common working people while Romney,Newt & Obama are all backed by a small amount of ultra wealthy donors.Look at the list of donors and see the same bankers that got bailed out via TARP and other financial institutions and lawyers & lobbyists etc. Elected by the Corporation for the Corporation .
    2012 Vote for Ron Paul

    February 4, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  24. Mom

    CNN showed the ads that Romney showed in Nevada. Both of those have been proved untrue. That says a lot about Romney's character.

    February 4, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. Eva

    I am a Catholic, and I have no problem with anyone's religion. This is how it should be. There is nothing wrong with Mormons voting for Romney. The Catholics folks voted in large numbers for Kennedy. I believe Obama got 80 or 90 percent of the African American vote. Who says all Mormons vote alike. I have a friend who is Mormon and voted for Obama last time. Says she'e not this time.

    February 4, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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