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: โ€œThis president began his presidency by apologizing for America. He should now be apologizing to America.โ€

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 (thatโ€™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. flushlimballs

    Which Obama failed policies ? saving GM which is now #1 in auto sales , saving the economy that now have employment numbers going in a great direction .Having osama taken off the face of the earth . All I see is successes ,Not failure .If you want to see failure , look back to the bush fiasco

    February 4, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. Rene

    If after 6 years of campaigning and getting hundreds of millions of dollars of FREE PR from romneychannel foxnews, as well as all the money romney put into attack ads, he cannot even get a supermajority in Nevada, how can he continue to run knowing he would lose BIG to obama when the independents and democrats get a chance to vote? So far looks like romney only got 48%, while nonromney is at 52%

    February 4, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. Ron

    Zillionaire wins big in Vegas!!! Hey Willard, "What ever slot machine you win tonight, donate it to people you don,t like, "The Poor" LOL!!! That,ll be the day?????? WoW!!! Wallstreet wins again!!! GAG ME!

    February 4, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. marine iraq vet

    If everyone one in this country is ready to get back to basics and have a small sound gov. which abides by the constitution and follows and honors our bill of rights which ensure our freedoms than vote for ron paul it's very simple, We are never going to see any change in our country or our dept crisis unless this man is elected. I know alot of people are ify on his foreign policy , but dont be it is right on, there is a difference in cutting military spending vs. defense spending which he poses not to do.This would just make it harder for us to just invade whoever we like without just cause. Take it from a combat marine we need to put an end to all this!! Just wish everyone wanting to fight wars from there couch at home or there office in washington can realize this. Its not a game, Its a horrible thing, especially when our best young men are dying for unjust wars, I will fight all day and night defending my country and its constitution , we took an oath, I feel like I am fighting more for it now trying to make people aware of whats going on. There is only on man who is going to do what he says, and do whats in the best interest of the country and its people, vote ron paul!

    February 4, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. kimi

    Romney "King of the Pink Slips " bought and sold companies laid off workers by the thousands. Bring Mitt on to debate Obama ... Romney will lose because he is not in touch with average people.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    February 4, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. kimi

    Obama / Biden 2012 !!

    February 4, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. kimi

    GOP primary and caucus votes are down considerably since 2008. It appears those votes will go to our commander and chief .... President Barack Obama !!!

    February 4, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  8. kimi

    Florida primary 2008 1.9 million GOP votes
    Florida primary 2012 1.6 million GOP votes

    Looks like we have a winner ... President Obama !!!

    February 4, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. ItsLeeOwen

    If moderates want anyone but Obama, fiscal conservatives want Paul, libertarian republicans want Paul, independents want Paul, and disenchanted democrats want Paul, then Ron Paul is our best shot at beating the incumbent President.

    Without the Ron Paul enthusiasm, moderates alone have a poor chance of beating Obama. Let's take it all the way to the whitehouse! We can win it.

    We just need to abort the phony idea that Romney is more "electable", shame on whomever started that bogus rumor. Romney does not excite the party, and he does not pickup the enthusiastic voters who have come to the party for President Paul.

    Most guaranteed disenchanted Democrats are going to scatter if Romney is the nominee, and either go fishing on election day, or go back to Obama. Many Libertarians will move over to Gary Johnson. Independents will probably do the same, stay home, or go back to Obama. We really need to get behind the candidate with surging enthusiasm in 2012 to oust the incumbent.

    February 4, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. ItsLeeOwen

    President Paul, President Paul !!

    February 4, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It is time for the lying right wingnuts to self deport. You really don't think Romney has any solutions for our economy, other than to condemn our president who is doing a good job considering the GOP obstructionists in DC.

    February 4, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. ItsLeeOwen

    Ron Paul beats Barack Obama. Barack Obama beats Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney beats Ron Paul.

    Ponder that...

    February 4, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. ftizedes

    OK so its the Mormon LDS vote that helped Romney in 2008 and it's the same here in 2012. The Christian Conservative of the South is an entire different story. It's like your family voting for you and saying you are #1 and then asking the nation to vote and you get S Carolina results.

    The Republican folks haven't voted yet. Wait until Super Tuesday.

    February 4, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. NPA

    If Ron Paul were to win the nomination, I'd like to see the reaction in the general to his plan to cut $1 trillion from the budget in year 1.

    If he were to win the presidency, I'd like to see him actually do it.

    I would have a hard time voting for Paul, though.

    February 4, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  15. kimi

    Ron Paul should run on the indie ticket.

    February 4, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. ftizedes

    Ron Paul voters are energized and will come out to vote – While I think Romney will keep Christians away, christian conservatives. They have a hard time voting for a Mormon. I am not sure why but Ron Paul's anti abortion, anti Federal Reserve appeals to them. The anti war vote helps bring cross overs if the Rebulicans get Ron Paul.

    it's NOT a surprise that Romney gets Nevada,.His Mormon brothers supported him and their families followed. What is CNN talking about a surprise. I don't believe the polls. those are not true

    February 4, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. phil

    money talks and romney wins another state. this is going to go badly if romney wins , im a repubican and i would rather see obama elected again if the choice was romney or obama.

    February 4, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  18. Larry in Houston

    I'm Voting DEMOCRAT – but Romney will end up defeating obama in November, I'm afraid. IF the newter wins the nomination, obama will definitely be re-elected. – – but the newter won't make it – The Newter will carry most of the states below the mason-dixon line.

    February 4, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. kimi

    LARRY !!! Obama will win !!! Slick Willy, Neutered and Sanitarium has zero chance to beat Obama!

    February 4, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  20. kimi

    phil .... your sentiments are felt by most repubs. Obama is doing a fair job considering what Bush left him!!!

    February 4, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. Rob

    @ flushlim
    You can Bush for our failed economy and bad housing market. Obama was left to clean up his mess. No Republican will be able to fix it either.

    February 4, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  22. ftizedes

    To the Vets that support Ron Paul – he is the unemployment line for our military, a pull out from unnecessary wars and a return to American focused defense.

    February 4, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. ftizedes

    Thank GOD Obama Invested in America and helped support the re-engineering of the American Auto Industry – re-designed and #1 once again.

    THATS AMERICAN! We are the greatest country in the world.

    February 4, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  24. contracheck

    to the CNN election coverage team:

    you are ALL a terrific team and soooo much FUN ... its a pleasure to spend sat nite with you all ...
    coverage is TOP NOTCH .. THANKS ๐Ÿ™‚

    While Gov. Romney is in the spotlight and rightfully so ... GO MITT ๐Ÿ™‚ GO MITT GO MITT ... and Wulf Blitzer acknowledged Rick Santorum's daughter Bella, I think it is very appropriate that the same consideration be granted on the air to the VERY VERY CLASSY, lovely Mrs. Romney who will hopefully become our First Lady ? She is a LOVE, intelligent, well spoken, poised, beautiful and very appropriate to represent the United States around the globe. Mrs. Romney ROCKS TO THE MAX ... we can all be proud of getting such a CLASSY First Lady .... Best wishes, I vote for Mrs. Romney to become FIRST LADY ... keep up the good work CNN guys, blessings to you all ... amen hallelujah ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 4, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  25. Larry in Houston

    @ Contracheck – THANK YOU !!! YOU ARE SPOT ON !!


    (believe me, I've been to the other news channel, and quickly turned it back to CNN ) There's so much hatred and they spew so much volatile hatred to any of our elected official in D.C. it's pathetic, in addition to the fact that they all talk over each other, and all of them talk at the same time, and they all constantly argue with one another) which is also pathetic.


    February 4, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
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