LAS VEGAS – Nevada’s presidential caucuses date back nearly four decades.
But their stature as an early-voting state in the presidential nominating calendar and the first western state to hold a contest in the White House race is much more recent.
In 2008 the Democratic National Committee moved Nevada near the top of the primary calendar – behind Iowa and New Hampshire – giving the state the “first in the West” designation.
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The move was made to reflect Nevada’s role as an electoral bellwether state as well as to showcase the growing importance of the West.
The move was also made to better represent the Democratic Party’s increasingly diverse electorate. Addling Nevada, with its vibrant Spanish-speaking population, to the mix with South Carolina, with a large African American Democratic electorate, helped counterbalance the overwhelmingly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Here’s a look at the winners of the caucuses dating back to 2008.
Hillary Clinton 51 percent, Barack Obama 45 percent, John Edwards 4 percent
Mitt Romney 51 percent, Ron Paul 14 percent, John McCain 13 percent, Mike Huckabee 8 percent, Fred Thompson 8 percent, Rudy Giuliani 4 percent, Duncan Hunter 2 percent
President Barack Obama 98 percent, uncommitted 1 percent
Mitt Romney 50 percent, Newt Gingrich 21 percent, Ron Paul 19 percent, Rick Santorum 10 percent
Hillary Clinton 53 percent, Bernie Sanders 47 percent
Donald Trump 46 percent, Marco Rubio 24 percent, Ted Cruz 21 percent, Ben Carson 5 percent, John Kasich 4 percent