**Written by Doug Powers
So far there seem to be no real surprises in Nevada — especially since three of the four GOP candidates aren’t even currently in the state — but the caucus voting is still going on:
With a huge lead in polls, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney appeared poised for an easy win in Nevada on Saturday that would put him in firm command of the party’s see-sawing presidential nominating race.
A Nevada victory would be Romney’s second win in a row and his third in the first five contests in the state-by-state battle to find a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in November’s general election.
Two polls taken this week in Nevada showed the former Massachusetts governor with a lead of 20 points or more over top rival Newt Gingrich after recapturing his front-runner status with a convincing win in Florida on Tuesday.
The caucuses began at many of the 125 sites around Nevada on Saturday morning, although final results were not expected until after 7 p.m. PST (0300 Sunday GMT). A final gathering of voters to accommodate Jews observing the Sabbath on Saturday will begin in Las Vegas at that time.
As for the actual voting, early on it appears to be falling in line with most of the polls.
The day hasn’t been without its problems:
Caucus-goers eager to take on their civic duty today were met with chaos and confusion at Green Valley High School in Henderson.
Frustrated voters tell Action News that some in attendance were given “unofficial” ballots. Several people cast their votes on unauthorized pieces of paper and left before the official blue ballots were handed out.
Witnesses were alarmed that their peers’ votes would go uncounted and blamed the caucus leaders for the disorganization.
For a minute there I thought they were going to say the ballots somehow had Harry Reid’s name pre-checked.
After today’s over, upcoming caucuses are Maine, Colorado and Minnesota. Super Tuesday is just over a month away. Who will be left standing?
I’ll post an update later when there are some solid numbers in.
Update: Fox5 has the latest. No surprises here:
The Nevada Republican Party announced the first results of the state’s presidential caucus Saturday, showing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with the early lead.
Romney scored victories in rural Eureka County, as well as Humboldt, Storey, Churchill and Pershing counties.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won Mineral County, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul easily won Nye County with 46 percent of the vote and scored a second victory by winning neighboring Esmeralda County.
Also, Business Insider reports that tonight Newt Gingrich will “lay out a delegate-based strategy that will allow him to make good on his promise to stay in the race until the Republican National Convention this summer.”
The chase for runner-up between Gingrich and Paul is still too close to call. Santorum will finish fourth.
Update III: The latest numbers:
**Written by Doug Powers
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