Trump scores thumping victory in Nevada's Republican caucuses

Trump scores thumping victory in Nevada's Republican caucuses

Donald Trump today stormed to victory in the crucial Nevada caucuses as he notched up his third straight win, inching closer to the US Republican presidential nomination ahead of a key multi-state vote next week.

"We love Nevada," said the 69-year-old real estate tycoon, who has emerged as the Republican frontrunner after entering politics only last June.

"We will be celebrating for a long time tonight," he told cheering supporters during his brief victory speech at his party here.

The billionaire reality TV star trounced his rivals with a resounding victory which sent shockwaves across the Republican party as he swept almost every category of the electorate to build his dominance in the delegate count.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida captured the second place with fewer than 2,000 more votes than Ted Cruz of Texas as final vote totals were reported.

Earlier, with about 90 per cent of the votes counted, American media had given Trump 46 per cent while Rubio and Cruz trailed by over 20 points in a close race for the second position.

"This is an amazing night. We weren't expected to win too much and now we're winning, winning, winning the country," Trump said. "And soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning."

Turnout was high in the crucial caucuses exceeding all expectations, with some Caucus sites running low on ballots.

The remaining two candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Governor John Kasich, came in at about six and four per cent, respectively.

Trump has now won three of the four early nominating states, after convincing wins in South Carolina and New Hampshire. He came second in Iowa Caucus which was won by Cruz.

A candidate must have 1,237 state delegates to win the Republican nomination at the National Convention this summer. And though the Nevada caucuses are not expected to have a major impact on the overall race, with only 30 delegates or slightly over 1 per cent of the total up for grabs, it was the first contest for the Republicans in the US West.

Trump won 14 delegates in Nevada, while Rubio won seven, and Ted got six. Overall, Trump has 81 delegates so far, and Cruz and Rubio have 17 apiece.

"We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated," he said. "I love the poorly educated. We're the smartest people. We're the most loyal people."

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