Trump wins Nevada caucus with nearly 46 per cent of votes

Donald Trump scored another clear victory Tuesday night in the Nevada caucus, clinching 45.9 per cent of votes and further cementing his status as front-runner in the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

With all the votes counted, Trump was more than 20 per cent ahead of any other candidates.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio came second with 23.9 per cent, narrowly ahead of Texas Senator Ted Cruz with 21.4, according to broadcaster CNN.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Governor Jon Kasich trailed with 4.8 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.

The Nevada Republican Party reported "record turnout levels" via Twitter with more than 75,000 voters participating on the caucus.

"Thank you Nevada! We will make America safe & great again," a triumphant Trump posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

With just 30 delegates to award proportionally, the contest had only a marginal effect on each candidate's progress toward the nomination. To win, a candidate will need 1,237 delegates to the national nominating convention in July.

But symbolically, the victory - Trump's third in a row at state-by-state party nominating contests - added further momentum to a once-improbable campaign.

"We're winning, winning, winning the country," the casino mogul told supporters in a gleeful victory speech. "Soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning."

Trump won handily among voters who said they were angry at government and wanted a change, according to US media entrance polls.

Surprisingly, Trump's supporters included a majority of Latinos, apparently despite disparaging remarks he made about Mexican immigrants that caused a scandal last summer.

Although there were reports in local media of a chaotic event in which ballots ran short and caucus sites opened late, Nevada's Republican Party said on Twitter there had been "no official reports" of voting irregularities or violations.

Celebrating the victory, Trump looked forward to the next.

"It's going to be an amazing two months," he said, referring to the schedule of the remaining nominating contests. "To tell you the truth, we may not even need the two months."

The Nevada caucus is followed by the March 1, so-called Super Tuesday primaries, in which more than a dozen state contests will be held.

Rubio left Nevada to campaign in the state of Michigan before polls had even closed Tuesday, according to media reports.

But as Trump's candidacy gained another win, rival Ted Cruz took the stage and tried to spin himself as the candidate best positioned to take him on.

Cruz, a conservative evangelical Christian who won the first Republican caucus in Iowa February 1, reminded supporters he was the only candidate who had beaten Trump so far.

He glossed over the loss in Nevada, saying the first four nominating contests presented voters with a clear choice - between Trump, and victory against the Democrats in November.

The real estate tycoon's cocksure campaign style has equally alienated and energized Republican voters. If the audience at Trump's Las Vegas victory party was expecting more brash talk, the former reality TV star did not disappoint.

On stage at the Treasure Island casino hotel, Trump taunted his rivals and glorified greed.

"We're going to get greedy for the United States - we're going to grab and grab," he said.

He promised if elected president to keep the US military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay open and "load it up with bad dudes" and reiterated a promise to make Mexico pay to build a wall along its border with the United States to stop illegal immigration.

The results in Nevada echoed Saturday's primary in South Carolina, in which Trump won nearly a third of the vote, while Rubio and Cruz finished in a near dead heat for second place.

The Nevada caucus was the first since Florida ex-governor Jeb Bush, whose father and brother are former presidents, quit the race, presumably letting his supporters fall to other candidates.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25
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