Romney wins Wyoming caucuses
By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer 15 minutes ago
CASPER, Wyo. - Mitt Romney captured his first win of
the Republican presidential race on Saturday,
prevailing in Wyoming caucuses for a much-needed boost
to his candidacy three days before the New Hampshire
The former Massachusetts governor won eight delegates,
former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson got two and
California Rep. Duncan Hunter won one, meaning no
other candidate could beat Romney. Caucuses were still
being held to decide all 12 delegates at stake.
The victory was a welcome development for Romney,
coming two days after his loss to Mike Huckabee in the
Iowa caucuses and three days before the
first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. Those
two states have attracted most of the political
attention. Wyoming had scheduled its GOP county
conventions earlier to attract candidates to the state
but had only modest results.
Romney visited Wyoming in August and November and
three of his five sons campaigned in the state. One
son, Josh Romney, owns a ranch in southwest Wyoming.
"Number one, he campaigned here," delegate Leigh
Vosler of Cheyenne said of Romney. "I think that
helped while some other candidates ignored us. But
also he's the right person for the job."
Hunter, Thompson and Ron Paul all stopped by the state
visits they probably wouldn't have made except for
this year's early conventions and candidates have
sent Wyoming's GOP voters a flood of campaign mail.
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, did not visit
Wyoming and drew little support. Arizona Sen. John
McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also
did not visit and received little support.
"I think we're encouraged that the voters in Wyoming
value that my dad had spent time here," Josh Romney
The traditional leadoff nomination contests in Iowa
and New Hampshire have dominated the attention of both
candidates and the national media in recent months,
and no candidates had visited Wyoming in the four
weeks leading up to the caucuses. Hunter was the last
to visit the state on Dec. 4.
Tom Sansonetti, the county convention organizer,
maintained Saturday that moving the state's caucuses
ahead was the right thing to do.
"The ultimate goal is not how many times we appear on
Katie Couric," Sansonetti said. "The ultimate goal was
to have attention paid to rank-and-file Republicans by
In addition, he said more Wyoming Republicans have
become involved in the process.
Wyoming Republicans also paid a price for jumping
ahead. The Republican National Committee has slashed
half of Wyoming's 28 national convention delegates.
National party leaders similarly penalized Florida,
Michigan, New Hampshire and South Carolina for moving
up the dates of their nomination contests.
RNC rules require the punishment for states that hold
their nominating contests earlier than Feb. 5. Iowa,
which held caucuses on Thursday, will not be penalized
because, technically, the caucuses are not binding on
convention delegates. Nevada, which plans to hold its
caucuses on Jan. 19, will not be penalized for the
Besides the 12 delegates chosen at Saturday's county
conventions in Wyoming, two delegates to be chosen at
a statewide convention in May will also be sent to the
national convention in Minneapolis.
Associated Press Writer Ben Neary contributed to this report.