Though it was clear early that Mitt Romney had won the Nevada caucuses, only later did it become apparent just how big his victory was. At the stroke of 10 p.m., caucus sites officially closed and CNN projected that Mitt Romney had won by double digits. About four minutes later, the New York Times did the same. By Sunday morning, Romney had rolled up more than 47 percent of the vote — more than twice as much as Gingrich, who finished second.
No wonder Gingrich fared so poorly: He lost his base to Romney. In the strongest tea party state so far in the 2012 primaries, Romney won a bigger share of tea party votes than Gingrich did. Add to that Romney’s strong support among Mormons and evangelicals (who narrowly favored Gingrich in Florida) and Mitt looks to be stitching together the fractured GOP.
As if the caucus results weren’t bad enough for Gingrich, the New York Times reports that Sheldon Adelson may flip his support from Newt to Mitt. Adelson has single-handedly kept Gingrich alive, giving a pro-Newt super PAC $10 million to tear into Mitt. The Adelson-funded PAC greatly helped Gingrich win South Carolina by saturating Palmetto State airwaves with anti-Romney attacks about Bain Capital.
Perhaps feeling that Gingrich is less of a threat than ever, Romney ignored him (and Ron Paul and Rick Santorum) during his victory speech and exclusively targeted President Obama.
This post has been updated throughout.