Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Nevada Republican presidential caucuses early Wednesday morning, extending his lead in the nomination fight before the nationwide contests next week. With 100% of precincts reporting, Trump walked away with about 46% of the vote, nearly double the share of his nearest competitor, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who earned about 24%.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished just behind Rubio with 21% of the vote. Rounding out the bottom of the field were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 4.8% and 3.6% respectively. Trump will receive 12 of Nevada's convention delegates, while Cruz and Rubio will each receive five delegates.
Thirteen states vote in Republican contests on March 1, known as Super Tuesday, and Trump suggested after winning Nevada that he was closing in on the nomination. "It's going to be an amazing two months," he said. "We might not even need the two months, folks, to be honest."
Chaos and frustration were reported long before polls closed at midnight ET. As soon as doors were open, reports of overwhelming crowds, mismanagement and overall disarray began to flood out of the Silver State. In some precincts, poll workers were reported to have run out of ballots, while in others, several people were reported to have voted twice.
At many precincts, poll workers were said to be wearing campaign gear, many of them Trump supporters. After several hours of outrage about partisan poll workers, the Nevada Republican Party tweeted a clarification that that wasn't against the rules.
Outside one caucus site people dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan were reported to have been seen holding up signs supporting Donald Trump. Several people tweeted photos of the individuals throughout the night. It was not clear whether they were Trump supporters or protesters.
The chaos at this year’s caucus is not without precedent. As Fusion detailed last week, mismanagement, confusion and allegations of dirty tricks at the Nevada caucuses have historically been more of a rule than an exception.