As widely expected, Donald Trump has won the Nevada Republican presidential caucus.
With 100 percent of the vote counted Wednesday morning, Trump had receive 46 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was second with 24 percent, while Texas Sen. Cruz had 21 percent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were in single digits, withabout 5 percent and 4 percent respectively. AP says that gives Trump 14 of Nevada's 30 Republican delegates, Rubio seven, Cruz six, and Carson and Kasich one each.
In his victory speech to supporters at the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas Tuesday night, Trump displayed his characteristic brashness. "If you listen to the pundits, we weren't expected to win too much — and now we're winning, winning, winning the country."
He predicted he'd do well in the upcoming primaries, in states including Texas and Ohio, which are home to two of his competitors.
He also boasted of the support he received from evangelical Christians, ordinary voters as well as leaders like Texas minister Robert Jeffress and Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. "I love the evangelicals," he said. Trump has not made appeal to the religious right a centerpiece of his campaign, but he has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would reverse marriage equality and voiced support for "license to discriminate" legislation, the proposed First Amendment Defense Act.
He further asserted his support for the right to bear arms, saying no one loves the Second Amendment more than he does. He also vowed to keep the military prison at Guantanamo Bay open; President Obama today announced plans to close it.
Cruz, a notably antigay candidate, spoke to supporters as well, saying he's the candidate to beat Trump and to win the general election. He said he can unite evangelicals, libertarians, and other conservatives. He promised that as president, he will fight "bipartisan corruption" in Washington, boost the American economy, and create "a more bountiful America." Rubio had left the state and did not deliver a speech.
“Donald Trump’s third state victory in this campaign is a disturbing sign of where this election is heading,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “Whether he’s advocating for bills that would allow more Kim Davis-style discrimination or promising to reverse nationwide marriage equality, Trump has made it crystal clear that he would block full LGBT equality as president. Unfortunately, if Trump’s winning streak continues, that’s precisely what could happen. That’s why it is so crucial LGBT voters nationwide turn out and ensure he never sets foot near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Hillary Clinton is the the pro-equality champion who can stop any of these anti-LGBT candidates in their tracks this November, and lead in the fight for full federal equality as president from day one in office.”
Watch a clip of Trump's speech below.