Mitt Romney takes Nevada caucuses with double-digit lead
LAS VEGAS (KABC) -- Mitt Romney inched closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination with a win in the Nevada caucuses Saturday, ABC News projects. It marks his third victory in the first five voting states.
As of Sunday morning, the former Massachusetts governor held a double-digit lead over his nearest pursuer, rival Newt Gingrich, as the totals mounted in a state where fellow Mormons accounted for roughly a quarter of all caucus-goers.
Returns from 16 of 17 counties early Sunday showed Romney with nearly 48 percent support, Gingrich with about 23 percent, Paul with 19 percent and Santorum with 11 percent.
"This is not the first time you gave me your vote of confidence and this time I'm going to take it to the White House," Romney told his supporters at a victory speech.
Romney won Nevada when he ran for president in 2008.
Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul battled for a distant second. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum trailed the field.
Romney went into Nevada, the first western state to vote, with big momentum from the Florida primary, which he won by a double-digit margin. That contest was as intense as Nevada's caucuses were sedate - so quiet that they produced little television advertising, no candidate debates and only a modest investment of time by the contenders.
In a state with the worst jobless rate in the country, Romney blasted President Barack Obama for his economic policies.
"America needs a president who can fix the economy because he understands the economy, and I do, and I will," Romney said.
Gingrich is still struggling after losing to Romney in Florida. He's facing a month of contests that favor Romney and only one scheduled debate, which have helped him in the past.
After losing Saturday, Gingrich vowed to stay in the race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
republican party, mitt romney, newt gingrich, rick santorum, ron paul, politics
- Shoppers flock to stores for last-minute gifts 1 min ago
- Reseda shooting: 1 dead, 1 injured, 1 arrested
- Tour bus crash in Corona: 91-yr-old man dies
- NASA astronauts begin spacewalking repairs
- Pope's message to end hunger hits home in IE
- Slain chase suspect's family files $20M claim
- Fallbrook tour bus crash: Victim identified
- Judge orders hospital to keep girl on support
- abcnews: Army's new weapon can shoot down drones
- US military aircraft hit in S. Sudan, 4 hurt 49 min ago
- Target probe focuses on processing centers
- San Jose company recalls sausage products
- Ned Vizzini, popular author, dies at age 32
- OTRC: 13 Best TV Shows of 2013 (with spoilers)
- Latest weather with Bri Winkler
40 min ago