Romney takes Douglas, holds wide margin in rest of state |

Romney takes Douglas, holds wide margin in rest of state

by Kurt Hildebrand

Douglas County Republicans followed much of the rest of the state in betting on the lead horse in the race to find a challenger to take on President Obama.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took the county caucus with 835 votes, or 41.3 percent of those cast. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came in second with 600 votes, or 29.7 percent of the vote.

The race for third place, saw Rick Santorum take Douglas over dark horse candidate Ron Paul. Santorum received 318 votes to Paul’s 270.

Results dribbled in on Saturday night, starting shortly after 5 p.m. County parties were required to send their results to headquarters in Las Vegas before they were released. Douglas County sent in their count at 6:15 p.m., but their numbers weren’t posted to the state party’s web site until 7:14 p.m.

In all 2,023 Douglas County residents cast ballots on Saturday, slightly more than half the number expected to participate.

Representing only an eighth of the county’s 16,224 registered Republicans. That figure includes 2,367 inactive voters who didn’t participate in the 2010 election. Party officials said attendance was light. Chairwoman Maggie Benz said the party was anticipating up to 4,000 participants in Saturday’s caucus and precinct meetings.

About a fifth of Carson City’s Republicans participated in the caucus, with 1,738 casting ballots. Carson has 11,770 registered Republicans, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Web site.

Lyon County saw a lighter turnout than either Carson or Douglas with 1,375 of the county’s 13,685 Republicans casting a ballot.

Only 7 percent of Washoe County’s 95,657 Republicans turned out to participate on Saturday.

A petition to the state party to seek support for a primary election was signed by residents across Douglas County. The effort showed the dissatisfaction the rank and file have with the caucus process.