Trump won at least 12 delegates in Nevada, while Rubio and Cruz won at least five apiece. Eight delegates were still left to be allocated.
Overall, Trump has 79 delegates, Cruz has 16 and Rubio has 15. John Kasich has five delegates and Ben Carson has three. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.
Trump, in his victory speech, took on the notion advanced by both Rubio and Cruz that if more GOP candidates drop out of the race, they’ll coalesce around an alternative.
“They keep forgetting that when people drop out, we’re going to get a lot of votes,” he said.
Nevada’s caucusing played out in schools, community centers and places of worship across the state — a process that’s been chaotic in the past.
Count Tracy Brigida, fed up after her husband was laid off from his mining job, among those caucusing for Trump.
“I want a businessman to run the biggest business in the world,” Brigida said as she caucused at a Las Vegas high school.
Jeremy Haight drove straight from his marketing job to caucus for Marco Rubio at the same high school.
“He’s the most level-headed. He hasn’t said anything stupid or crazy … which is really what I think the country needs,” Haight said.
It was Cruz for Megan Ortega, who declared: “He’s consistent, he’s bold and he’s a class act.”
Preliminary results of the entrance poll found that about 3 in 10 early caucus goers said the quality that mattered most to them in choosing a candidate was that he shares their values, slightly more than the quarter who said they want a candidate who can win in November. About a quarter said they want a candidate who can bring change. About 2 in 10 want one who “tells it like it is.”
Trump — no surprise here — was supported by nearly 9 in 10 of the “tell it like it is” voters.
Lagging far behind in the Nevada vote were Kasich and Carson.
The entrance poll survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as Republican voters arrived at 25 randomly selected caucus sites in Nevada.
Benac reported from Washington.
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