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Romney wins Wyoming caucuses

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080105/ap_on_el_pr/wyoming_caucuses Romney wins Wyoming caucuses By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer 15 minutes ago CASPER,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2008
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      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
      national candidates."

      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
      same reason.

      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.
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