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All GOP hopefuls file for state caucus

All eight major GOP presidential candidates met a Friday deadline to pay $10,000 to participate in Nevada’s Feb. 4 Republican presidential caucus, party officials said.

Even Jon Huntsman, who once threatened to boycott the caucus, sent his check by Federal Express, Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said.

The Nevada GOP will hold the first presidential vote in the West following four states in January: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, which jumped out ahead of Nevada.

“To be first in the West is vital. The nation cannot ignore us,” Tarkanian said Friday.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the first to pay his money to file with the party in November, GOP officials said, while Rick Santorum was the last, sending his check in on Friday.

Mitt Romney remains the favorite in Nevada. He won the GOP presidential caucus in 2008 with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas coming in second. They were the only GOP candidates who competed here while eventual nominee John McCain focused on South Carolina instead.

In 2012, the Nevada GOP caucus results will be binding with candidates being awarded delegates based on the percentage of votes they receive, making the state more competitive.

The candidates who filed with the GOP in Nevada include Romney, Paul, Huntsman, Santorum, Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann.

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