Monday, December 18, 2017

Romney romps to Nevada win

LAS VEGAS — Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney cruised to victory in the Nevada caucuses Saturday night, notching a second straight triumph over a field of rivals suddenly struggling to keep pace.

In victory, the former Massachusetts governor unleashed a sharp attack on President Barack Obama, whose economic policies he said have "made these tough times last longer."

In a state with the worst joblessness in the country, Romney added, "This week he's been trying to take a bow for 8.3 percent unemployment. Not so fast, Mr. President. This is the 36th straight month with unemployment above the red line your own administration drew."

The former Massachusetts governor held a double-digit lead over his nearest rival as the totals mounted in a state where fellow Mormons accounted for roughly a quarter of all caucus-goers.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul vied for a distant second. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum trailed the field.

Returns from 14 of 17 counties showed Romney with 42 percent support, Gingrich with 25 percent, Paul with 20 percent and Santorum with 13 percent.

Yet to report its results was Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and often accounts for half or more of the votes in a statewide election.

In contrast with Florida's intense primary, Nevada caucuses were sedate — producing little television advertising and no candidate debates.

A total of 28 Republican National Convention delegates were at stake in Nevada. Romney won at least 10, Gingrich at least four, Paul at least three and Santorum at least two. Eight were still to be determined.

By contrast, Romney's victory on Tuesday netted him all 50 of Florida's delegates.

According to the AP count, Romney began the day with 87 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. Gingrich had 26, Santorum 14 and Paul 4.

Preliminary results of a poll of Nevada Republicans entering their caucuses showed that nearly half said the most important consideration in their decision was a candidate's ability to defeat Obama this fall, a finding in line with other states.

About one-quarter of those surveyed said they are Mormon, roughly the same as in 2008, when Romney won with more than a majority of the vote in a multi-candidate field.

Romney rode overwhelming backing from Mormons and his best performance yet among conservatives to his emphatic victory Saturday in Nevada's Republican presidential contest, according to preliminary results of a poll of voters entering the caucuses.

Buoyed by near monolithic support from Mormons, the former Massachusetts governor won a broad and deep victory. He was the clear winner among every age group except for those under 30, with all but the lowest-earning voters and across all levels of education.

Romney captured the votes of just over half of conservatives, more than doubling the number who backed former Gingrich, an ominous result for the man who has emerged as Romney's chief rival.

In the four previous states that have held GOP presidential contests, Romney won no more than about 4 in 10 conservative votes, in New Hampshire and Florida. Underscoring the importance of the Mormon vote, Romney's support Saturday among conservatives who are not Mormon was in that same 4 in 10 range.

For the first time, Romney took half the votes of tea party supporters, with Mormons once again pushing his margin higher than before.

One in 4 voters Saturday was Mormon, Romney's religion, and 9 in 10 of them backed him. They gave him more than 4 in 10 of his votes on Saturday. Each of his rivals received 1 in 10 or less of their votes from Mormons.

Romney won among all non-Mormon voters as well, though by a far narrower margin, capturing around 4 in 10 of their votes. Romney triumphed among Protestants and carried a slight majority of Catholics.

Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul each took about 1 in 4 of Saturday's non-Mormon voters.

Romney won decisively among the nearly half of voters saying they most wanted a candidate who can defeat Obama in this fall's election. He won about three quarters of their votes — four times as many as went to Gingrich, his nearest competitor on that question.

Coming up: From Nevada, the calendar turns to caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and a nonbinding primary in Missouri on Tuesday. Maine caucuses end next Saturday, and the next seriously contested states are expected to be primaries in Michigan and Arizona on Feb. 28.

Comments
Ruling on Pasco school rezoning lawsuit to come early in 2018

Ruling on Pasco school rezoning lawsuit to come early in 2018

A group of west Pasco County parents' yearlong challenge of the school district's revised attendance zones for Mitchell High and the surrounding area should get a judge's decision in the next few weeks.Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd has told lawyers...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs picked up club option on Jason Licht’s contract for 2018 earlier this year, but GM’s future still not clear

Bucs picked up club option on Jason Licht’s contract for 2018 earlier this year, but GM’s future still not clear

Bucs general manager Jason Licht did not receive a contract extension after the team went 9-7 last season. Instead, the Glazer family which owns the Bucs decided to pick up a one-year club option on Licht’s contract for 2018. That happened some...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jim Leavitt isn’t coming back to Florida after all

Jim Leavitt isn’t coming back to Florida after all

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt isn't coming back to the state after all.Sports Illustrated reported late Sunday evening that Leavitt will remain at Oregon as its defensive coordinator – a position that will earn him a cool $1.7 million annually. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rubio takes victory lap after child tax credit fight

Rubio takes victory lap after child tax credit fight

WASHINGTON – Sen. Marco Rubio didn't get all that he wanted but succeeded in making the child tax credit better for working families.Now he's taking a victory lap and enjoying positive news coverage."For two weeks, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
All Eyes gallery: Jim Damaske’s favorite photos of 2017

All Eyes gallery: Jim Damaske’s favorite photos of 2017

Social media could be the buzz word for the year (I might be a tad late). It’s nifty to be able to share what you see practically immediately with our readers (you look at the Times’ website, twitter feed and Facebook don’t you?). I...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The future of Dirk Koetter

The future of Dirk Koetter

Three games. That's how many the Bucs have left. Can the same be said for Dirk Koetter's head coaching career?The answer to that question might be determined by what happens in those three games.If the Bucs lose the rest – and that is more like...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida Congressmen on front lines of battle over Mueller investigation

Florida Congressmen on front lines of battle over Mueller investigation

WASHINGTON – Two Florida Congressmen are figures in a growing battle over Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia, with conservative Matt Gaetz calling for an end to the probe and liberal Ted Deutch saying it needs to continue without interf...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sun, sand, sustainability: Anna Maria Island excels at ecotourism

Sun, sand, sustainability: Anna Maria Island excels at ecotourism

Reach out and grab a leaf. Go on. Now pop it in your mouth. It's the moringa plant, ounce for ounce one of the most nutritious plants on earth, which tastes like a cross between a bean and a pea.Now look over there. It's a Seminole pumpkin. You can p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Did President Trump break a promise to Florida’s Haitian population?

Did President Trump break a promise to Florida’s Haitian population?

With Election Day 2016 approaching, then-candidate Donald Trump traveled to Miami to earn the support of a group of Haitian-Americans."Whether you vote for me or you don't vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion, and I will be your ch...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bulls expected to sign at least 6 (and possibly more) this week

Bulls expected to sign at least 6 (and possibly more) this week

At least a half-dozen high school seniors — and possibly more — are expected to sign with USF when the NCAA's new 72-hour early signing period for football commences Wednesday.Homestead South Dade TE Chris Carter Jr., a three-star prospec...
Updated: 1 hour ago