Donald Trump easily took the Nevada caucus tonight with a 44% share. He gave a rousing victory speech to a packed crowd from a hotel owned by billionaire Phil Ruffin, with hotel owner and billionaire Steve Wynn in attendance.
Marco Rubio took second place with about 25%, a bit of a surprise, since the polls had him in third place behind Cruz by several points. Rubio is now considered the “establishment” candidate and enjoys a boost from his second place finish South Carolina plus more than 20 endorsements from high profile Republicans. Endorsements include Bob Dole, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Prominent megadonors like Joe Craft and some high level political operatives have also jumped on board.
Ted Cruz took third place with 21%, Cruz’s crowd was not as robust as Trump’s, his warm-up speaker was Glenn Beck, who has been a strong Cruz supporter and a strong opponent to Trump. Cruz commented that no president was ever elected without having one at least one of the first three primaries and he and Tump were the only ones who had done that.
Trump has strong momentum going into the next set of Primaries on Super Tuesday (March 1, 2016), also known as the SEC primaries because it includes 5 states that host Universities in the Southeastern Conference athletic conference.
The states holding primaries next week are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.
Carson took about 5% of the votes and Kasich was in last place with about 4%.