Politics

Election moves to Nevada as Romney picks up Trump endorsement

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Mitt Romney won the Florida primary handily on Tuesday. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.)

The election schedule is moving west.

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In addition to Maine's caucuses this weekend, voters in Nevada will also hold their own caucuses, and that's where most Republicans are concentrating their efforts.

Mitt Romney, fresh off his convincing victory in Florida, received an endorsement from Donald Trump — the billionaire who one time considered his own bid for president this year — Thursday afternoon.

Jon Ralston, political reporter for the  Las Vegas Sun, said it's Trump doing what Trump does best — getting attention.

"You could argue he's gambling by taking Trump's endorsement," Ralston said. "People in Nevada will respond pretty much the same way anybody else would. Which is people already have very firm ideas. He has fairly high negatives anywhere he goes."

That said, despite being wealthy, Trump has a measure of populist appeal within the Republican Party, which could be a big boost for Romney.

"Maybe he thinks Trump helps him with that segment of electorate," Ralston said. "Or you can be more cynical about it, that this is just a way for Romney to take those controversial remarks about the poor off the table and get all us easily-persuaded media folks to focus on Donald Trump."

Ralston said it's too soon to say how those comments — on CNN, Romney said he didn't worry about the poor, though went on to explain they had a social safety net he was committed to — would be viewed in Nevada.

"It's not the first time he's said something along those lines," Ralston said. "Romney seems to get himself in these times of jackpots all the time. 'Corporations are people.' 'I like firing people.' Even if he could justify saying the things he does or put it in context, you know it will not be put in context in a few months when the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee put up those words in 30 second ads.

"That's what Republicans are worried about."

After Romney, Ralston said it'll be a battle between Gingrich and Ron Paul, who has a fervent following in the state, for second place.