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Nev. caucuses offer state a rare say in nomination

By Martin Griffith

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Feb. 4 2012 1:30 a.m. MST

Worshipers pray during a prayer service before a campaign stop by Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at the International Church of Las Vegas on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

RENO, Nev. — With its 24-hour casino gambling, legalized prostitution and drive-through wedding chapels, Nevada seems anything but conventional. When it comes to voting in presidential elections, it's as mainstream as it gets.

Nevada hasn't made much of a difference in selecting the nominee for president or on national politics in general. State officials are hoping that Saturday's Republican caucuses change that.

Some analysts think Nevada is more representative of the U.S. than other early voting states because of its diverse population. While two-thirds of its population is white, 27 percent is Hispanic, 8 percent is black and 7 percent is Asian.

Faced with poor turnout and high costs for its presidential primary in 1996, Nevada moved to a caucus system with voting in March. In 2008, the caucuses moved to January.

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