“We think (Romney) is the only one who can beat Obama,” said Reno resident Marilyn Van Antwerp.
Electability was a common refrain heard at 15 caucus sites around Washoe County, as many Republican voters cast their lot with the candidate they feel is best equipped to take down President Barack Obama in November.
“I think the most important thing is beating Obama,” said Marian Bond, a Reno resident who voted for Newt Gingrich.
Bond said Gingrich’s experience and debate performances made him the best choice to take on Obama.
Caucuses are unique in that they resemble a kind of town hall forum, where voters can make impassioned pleas on behalf of the candidate they support.
Reno resident Susie Underwood, speaking before dozens of voters in the Galena High School gymnasium, urged fellow caucus-goers to vote for Gingrich.
“Newt may have some baggage,” she said, “but he’s also proved himself in Washington.”
Underwood said that Romney, the perennial frontrunner in the nominating process, represents the kind of establishment candidate that Obama can beat, similar to John McCain in 2008.
Kelley Redow was next in line. She tried to persuade voters to join the Ron Paul revolution.
“He has good ideas,” she said.
Paul has gotten some flak for his foreign policy positions, but Redow, trying to alleviate these concerns among hawkish Republican voters, said, “He’s not against a strong military.”
Paul, after a surprisingly good performance in the Silver State four years ago, was battling Gingrich for second place late Saturday night.
No one stood and spoke on behalf of Rick Santorum, who placed last.
Despite the varied opinions among caucus-goers, most seemed united under the premise that Obama should not, or rather cannot, be re-elected.
“We cannot take four more years of this socialist,” said Reno resident Richard Bowen, who supports Romney.