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Nevada Republicans Set To Caucus Tuesday

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Karen and Casey Clark of Reno watch Sen. Marco Rubio speak Monday at the Peppermill.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Nevada Republicans get their chance to pick a presidential nominee Tuesday night, and the leading GOP candidates are stumping for votes throughout the state.

Several hundred people filled a ballroom at the Peppermill in Reno Monday to see Marco Rubio, who stopped in Washoe County between events in Elko and Minden.

Among those in the crowd: 44-year-old Karen Clark, who left a health care career she'd held for more than two decades last year to raise her nine-year-old son. She leaned back against her husband as she watched Rubio speak; his hands rested on her shoulders.

"I'm not afraid or embarrassed anymore to tell people that I'm a Republican and who I want to vote for and why, Clark said, "because I think now is the time -- we have to win."

Marco Rubio, she says, is the GOP candidate who can do that.

At a Reno shopping center a few days earlier, insurance broker Tim Holland loaded some beer into his trunk for a client meeting. "I need a change," he says, so he'll caucus for Donald Trump.

"I have been a businessman or owned a business or been part of a business and seen growth and making things happen from the ground up my entire life," Holland said. "And I don't want someone who's a politician in the office. I've had enough of it."

Trump, who appears to be the Nevada frontrunner, held events in Elko and Las Vegas yesterday. He'll hold a rally at the Nugget Casino in Sparks Tuesday at Noon.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz wrapped up his Monday at the Boys and Girls Club in Reno after earlier stops in Las Vegas and Elko. In a sign of the Cruz campaign's focus on organization, everyone entering the rally was asked to sign in and were given talking points for speaking at their caucus sites.

Robert Hemenway, a 33-year-old IBM server tech, was among the hundreds to see Cruz speak.

"He's a conservative and I like his tax plan," Hemenway says. "And quite frankly, he seems to be the least corrupt of the bunch."

Washoe County caucus doors open at 5pm and caucuses get underway at 6. Results will start coming in around 9.

 Election 2016

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio