Donald Trump not only claimed victory in Nevada Tuesday night, he won by an equally impressive margin in Carson City.
The final tally showed Trump with 1,066 votes in the Carson presidential preference vote compared to Marco Rubio’s 600 votes.
Ted Cruz, who held a last-minute rally in the Brewery Arts Center just before the caucuses began, won only 468 votes from caucus goers at the Carson Nugget and Fuji Park. Trump won in all but one precinct where he and Rubio tied at 35 votes. Dr. Ben Carson came in fourth with 208 votes and Ohio Gov. John Kasich fifth with just 102 votes.
Altogether, 2,448 people attended and voted. Four were ruled ineligible as they cast ballots for Rand Paul, who has withdrawn from the race.
More than double the number of Carson City Republicans turned out as did four years ago when just about 800 caucused.
The vast majority of those voters cast their ballot in the party’s presidential preference election and then left the building.
But a couple hundred stayed around to participate in the rest of the process — primarily electing delegates to the county convention set for April 9 at Silver State Charter School.
At the second Carson City caucus location, Fuji Park, the lines wrapped around the inside of the exhibition hall.
To ensure no one tried to vote twice, everyone who registered to participate and vote got a red stamp on their left hand.
The delegate selection becomes important if the county convention can’t pick a candidate on the first ballot. Those delegates are “bound” to their candidate in that first convention ballot but are free to switch candidates on a second or later ballot.
While the Carson City caucuses went pretty smoothly, there were problems elsewhere including Dayton in Lyon County where Alan Dale Daniel said he and his wife left without voting after standing in line 45 minutes — a line he says never moved.
“It was a complete shambles and the Republican Party must stand the blame,” he said. “It was up to the Nevada Republican Party to insure the caucus(es) were well organized and well run. They were not.”
And a Reno voter name Diane in Reno tweeted the Appeal saying she and two others gave up because they “couldn’t get within a mile for parking.”
Kathyrn Flynn brought a stroller with two small children to the Carson Nugget to cast her ballot for Cruz. But she said it was really a toss-up between Cruz and Rubio. Asked about Trump, she said, “not so much,” but she’d vote for him if he was the GOP nominee.
“My husband thinks I’m crazy but I like Trump,” said Stacy Woodbury.
Her son Noah Jennings said he’s backing Rubio because,”I believe he can draw voters from both sides.”
“And he’s got character,” he said.
Jerry Counts said he’s for Trump.
“I kind of view him as an independent running in the Republican Party because he knows an independent can’t win,” he said. “I’m one of many Republicans and Democrats that are just fed up with both parties.”
He said he respects Bernie Sanders and believes he’s honest, “but he just has wrong ideas.”
One voter, who wished not to be named, supported either Marco Rubio or John Kasich because of the importance of immigration and some of the other candidates were too radical.
“Abortion is one of my biggest issues, but I am curious to hear about what people want to talk about with immigration,” the voter said. “I just think that Trump is too hard on immigration ideas.”
Many people agreed refurbishing the nation’s economy was a top priority for the Republican candidate.
“We need to get a Republican in the White House to get someone who is for fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility and someone who is for fairness,” said voter James Kirk.
For some, while jobs and the economy were important, they believed Rubio would be the best candidate because they felt he was the most honest.
“Of all the choices, I think he is best, I like his family values,” said Rubio supporter Annette Cornish.
“I just think he is the most honest of them all,” added Rubio supporter Donna Roberts. “We need to get this country back to the way it should be economically and spiritually,”
Others like Trump as their candidate because he isn’t a politician and they believe that’s key to changing around the country.
“He is the non-politicians in the group and I am just tired of politicians,” said Trump supporter Richard Hartley. “I think he is the smartest one and he is experienced. He needs to go in into the government and mix it up, I just think it is time for someone to come in who isn’t a politician.”