Jackpot: Romney hits 50% in Nevada caucus tally

The Nevada caucuses didn’t match up to the Super Bowl.

While the Giants and Patriots tussled in a tight contest decided in the final few minutes, Mitt Romney blew out his competition the previous evening. The final numbers, released Monday morning, showed the extent of Romney’s dominance.

Romney took one out of every two votes. Remember when the talk was that the former Massachusetts governor couldn’t get above 25% anywhere? His rivals never drew close: Newt Gingrich finished second at 21%, Ron Paul garnered 19%, and Rick Santorum just 10%.

The GOP presidential frontrunner had long expected to do well in the state, with its strong Mormon vote and urbanized Las Vegas core. To their credit, his competitors saw the wave coming and largely stopped campaigning in the state. Even Gingrich devoted himself more to fundraising than handshaking.

The race moves on to Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, which holds nonbinding caucuses Tuesday, and Maine, which is holding a weeklong caucus that ends Saturday.  A nonbinding caucus means that the presidential preferences cast by attendees is only the first step of the process and delegates could end up apportioned to another candidate despite the result.

But for candidates such as Gingrich and Santorum, the caucus results will be a way to demonstrate relevance as Romney looks more and more like an unstoppable force churning toward the nomination.

All of the candidates will campaign in Colorado on Monday, with Gingrich, Paul and Santorum also making stops in Minnesota.

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