Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, stands for a photograph after a Bloomberg Television interview at his campaign headquarters in Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015. According to Trump, Janet Yellen's decision to delay hiking interest rates is motivated by politics. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images *** Local Capton *** Donald Trump

By Philip Rucker and David Weigel
February 24, 2016 at 2:05 AM
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LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump swept to a convincing victory in the Nevada presidential caucuses here Tuesday evening, building a broad coalition that left his top two rivals trailing far behind and accelerating his march to the Republican nomination.

An angry electorate hungry for a political outsider in the White House catapulted Trump to his third straight win in the GOP primary race as the billionaire mogul used visceral rhetoric to tap into anxieties about the economy, terrorism and illegal immigration.

The breadth of Trump’s support was staggering, with Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) running more than 20 percentage points behind him in second and third place respectively, despite their aggressive campaigning across Nevada in the closing days. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who did not mount a serious campaign here, were far behind in single digits.

“If you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much — and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country,” a triumphant Trump declared to supporters at his Las Vegas victory party.

Vowing to continue his streak and quickly secure the nomination, Trump added: “It’s going to be an amazing two months. We might not even need the two months, folks.”

The Nevada results underscored the challenge for Trump’s opponents to slow his momentum heading into next week’s Super Tuesday, when 11 states will hold primaries and caucuses in a single day.

Cruz and Rubio, who have been fighting bitterly to become the chief alternative to Trump, were dealt a serious blow by Nevada’s voters.

After watching with disappointment as returns rolled in, Cruz all but ignored Rubio as he addressed supporters at his Las Vegas caucus night party. He argued that the real race for the nomination had come down to him and Trump.

“The undeniable reality that the first four states have shown is that the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump and the only campaign that can beat Donald Trump is this campaign,” Cruz said, referencing his win in the kick-off Iowa caucuses.

Rubio, who jetted out of Nevada Tuesday morning for campaign events in Minnesota and Michigan, made no public comments on the results. His advisers had been hopeful that he might finish strongly here, perhaps even win, considering that he spent part of his childhood in Las Vegas and enjoyed the support of much of the state’s political establishment.

High voter turnout apparently overwhelmed organizers at some caucus locations. There were isolated reports of double voting, dwindling supplies of paper ballots and what a Republican Party official described as “chaos” at a couple of caucus sites here in Clark County, the state’s biggest population center.

Some volunteer caucus officials collecting ballots wore Trump campaign T-shirts and hats, sparking an outcry and allegations of voter intimidation on social media.
Charts: The delegate math shows Trump may be unstoppable View Graphic

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