Romney coasts to second victory in a row

February 5th, 2012 - 12:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Feb 5 (IANS) Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney coasted to a sweeping victory in Nevada caucuses, his second consecutive win in the Republican nomination contests for the right to challenge President Barack Obama in the November poll.

Backed by a broad coalition of voters that included groups that he has struggled to win in previous contests, including very conservative voters, strong Tea Party supporters and evangelicals, Romney added to the momentum he received from his commanding victory in Florida last Tuesday.

Romney’s rivals largely conceded the state before the results were known, with some leaving Nevada to campaign in Colorado and Minnesota. Romney, who won Nevada in 2008, had never given up the lead in polls here.

As early results showed Romney taking about 48 percent of the vote, many major networks declared him the victor.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 20 percent and House member Ron Paul with 21 percent were in a tight race for second place. Former Senator Rick Santorum, who had largely bypassed the state, had 11 percent of the vote.

With a win in Nevada, Romney will be the first Republican candidate in this cycle to score back-to-back wins. Romney appeared to win in the Iowa caucuses but the contest was later awarded to Santorum when the vote was certified.

Romney scored a big win in New Hampshire but was then stunned in South Carolina by Gingrich. Romney scored a 14-point victory over Gingrich and the rest of the field in Tuesday’s Florida primary and entered Saturday’s contest with a sizable lead in polls.

The caucuses are open only to the state’s more than 470,000 registered Republicans. Nevada’s 28 delegates will be awarded proportionately based on the statewide vote.

Polls leading up to the vote had shown Gingrich trailing far behind Romney. But Gingrich has vowed to stay in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention in August.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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