Five days of nonstop Republican presidential campaigning in Nevada kicks off today with Ron Paul holding a "campaign call to arms" rally in Henderson and Rick Santorum wooing conservative tea party members in Las Vegas before watching the Florida primary returns come in.
GOP front-runner Mitt Romney will roll into Las Vegas on Wednesday evening for a rally at Brady Industries, a wholesale distribution company that specializes in cleaning products.
Newt Gingrich, who appears headed for a loss to Romney in Florida, will hit the campaign trail by Thursday in Nevada as he seeks to stretch out the nomination contest through the spring.
With the Silver State GOP caucus set for this Saturday, the Republican presidential race remains so volatile that voters who meet the final four candidates this week could shift the tide.
Nevada offers a proving ground for whether Gingrich has any staying power with Romney heavily favored to win here. Paul is a big factor, having finished No. 2 behind Romney in the 2008 GOP caucus in Nevada.
"There are a lot of people who are undecided," said Jeri Taylor-Swade, co-founder of a tea party organization where Santorum plans to speak to conservatives and other members of the public. "If they get a chance to meet a lot of candidates, it may make a difference in how they vote."
Gingrich also may visit the new office of TRUNC -- Tea Party and Republicans Uniting Nevada Conservatives -- according to Taylor-Swade, who said the schedule isn't confirmed yet.
The group plans to hold its Tuesday event under a tent in the parking lot behind the offices, according to Taylor-Swade, who said up to 200 people may show up to hear Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who is not well-known in Nevada. A larger crowd is anticipated if Gingrich drops by, given the former House speaker's celebrity status among conservatives, Taylor-Swade said.
Paul's campaign expects a large crowd, likely several hundred, as the Texas congressman addresses supporters inside a ballroom at the Green Valley Resort in Henderson. He also plans to campaign in Elko, Reno and Pahrump this week, according to his office.
Paul also is set to address an influential Southern Nevada Latino group Wednesday morning, apparently the only presidential candidate to reach out to Hispanics in Politics.
Hispanics make up 26 percent of the state's population and about 15 percent of the electorate, but most are Democrats.
"Only one of these four candidates has taken the initiative of seeking the support of the state's Latino Republican voter," said Fernando Romero, president of Hispanics in Politics. "This candidate came in second in Nevada's 2008 presidential caucus. And now he's aiming for Numero Uno."
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