Donald Trump won Nevada’s Republican caucuses on Tuesday, as his main rivals battled for second place in an increasingly urgent effort to slam the brakes on Trump’s momentum.
Trump now has three straight victories, in the West, the South and Northeast. The wins are a testament to his broad appeal among the “mad-as-hell” voters making their voices heard in the 2016 presidential race.
According to the preliminary results of an entrance poll, 6 in 10 caucus goers claim to be angry with the way the government is working, and Trump got about half of those angry voters.
Trump is basking in his Nevada caucus victory by vowing to keep open the military detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He told supporters in Las Vegas that he’ll keep open the facility that President Obama is working to close.
Nevada was a critical test for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the two senators battling to emerge as the clear alternative to the Republican front-runner. Rubio was out to prove he can build on recent momentum, while Cruz was looking for a spark to recover from a particularly rocky stretch in his campaign.
Rubio, who was already campaigning in Michigan as the caucus results rolled in, was projecting confidence that he can consolidate the non-Trump voters who have been splintering among an assortment of Republican candidates. Rubio told his supporters, “we have incredible room to grow.”
Cruz, a fiery conservative popular among voters on the Republicans’ right, finished a disappointing third in South Carolina after spending much of the past two weeks denying charges of dishonest campaign tactics and defending his integrity.
Another disappointing finish in Nevada would raise new questions about his viability heading into a crucial batch of Super Tuesday states on March 1, including his home state of Texas.