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Nevada Win in Cards for Romney

By Michael D. Shear
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 19 -- Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney celebrated his apparent win in the lightly-contested Nevada caucus Saturday, his third victory in the presidential nominating season.

"I'm going to go across the country," he told a crowd in Reno on Friday, because "One, I want the delegates. Two, I care about every state. And three, I want to win in the general election."

Romney argued that a victory in Las Vegas would drive more primary delegates to his column, even though the Nevada caucus is a non-binding vote.

Romney tailored his message to the state's voters, offering concern about the state of the economy and strong talk about illegal immigration. He left the state on Saturday morning, heading to Florida in advance of the blockbuster Republican primary in that state on Jan. 29.

In Nevada, only Texas Rep. Ron Paul offered Romney any direct competition, airing a television ad in the state. Romney advisers said they had reports of negative push-poll telephone calls in the state made by a group supporting Huckabee.

The Associated Press and other networks called the Nevada contest for Romney based on surveys of people as they entered the state's morning caucuses. Early returns showed him easily leading all of his other rivals.

Romney had stopped campaigning in South Carolina after polls showed him lagging behind McCain and Huckabee. Instead, he headed west, where he spent a day-and-a-half blitzing across Nevada, from the gambling meccas of Las Vegas and Reno to the mining town of Elko.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 19, 2008; 1:59 PM ET
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