Update: The final results for those voting in the Carson City GOP caucus were 1,738 total turnout, with Mitt Romney getting 656 votes, Newt Gingrich getting 562 votes, Ron Paul getting 268 votes and Rick Santorum getting 252 votes.
CARSON CITY – About 500 Republicans in the capital city participated in the First in the West GOP caucus today, hearing from candidate representatives and learning the rules as early returns suggested favorite Mitt Romney would win the contest handily.
Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich were battling for second place.
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., the new representative for the 2nd Congressional District, urged caucus goers to support the GOP nominee whoever it might be if they truly want change in Washington, DC.
The “Red Team” needs to get behind the nominee to ensure Republicans take the White House in November, he said.
Supporters of all four candidates: Romney, Gingrich, Paul and Rick Santorum, could be seen in the crowd. Representatives of three of the candidates spoke before the participants broke into their precincts to vote. Santorum did not have a representative present.
Carson City resident Linda Law said she was leaning towards supporting Romney.
“I’m still kind of torn among the various candidates, but that’s where I’m standing currently,” she said. “I think he has the experience with the private sector to create jobs, and that’s my most pressing concern.”
Law said she was pleasantly surprised at the strong turnout.
“I think it is a wonderful thing for the people in our community to be involved critically with the process,” she said.
David Castle, who just turned 18, said he was at the caucus to support Paul.
“I like how he has a plan to balance the deficit,” he said. “And I like his isolationist, like military, bring all the troops back. We’re in a lot of countries where we don’t have any business being, I think.”
The Carson caucus site opened at 7 a.m. to allow those with work schedules to participate. A final tally of participants was not yet available.
Gov. Brian Sandoval stopped by early before visiting other caucus sites in Reno. He was then scheduled to travel to Las Vegas.
The Nevada State Republican Party was hopeful that the GOP presidential contest would not be decided before its caucus, which initially had been proposed for January. Party officials got their wish, and the state was a buzz of activity for the candidates this past week.
All four candidates made several appearances around the state trying to win a percentage of the 28 delegates up for grabs.
The march to the nomination moved on to Maine, which had its week-long caucus start today with 24 delegates at stake. On Tuesday the battle moves to Colorado and Minnesota with their caucuses.
Linda Law says she favors Romney because of his private sector experience in creating jobs:
Law says she is impressed with the turnout:
David Castle says he likes Ron Paul’s plan to erase the federal deficit and balance the budget: