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Breaking News: Mitt Romney wins Wyoming

January 5, 2008 |  3:03 pm

The candidate wasn't within 1,500 miles, but Mitt Romney scored a victory just now. He won most of the first Republican delegates selected in Wyoming today, which had moved its county selection date up on the calendar to attract more attention from candidates who usually just fly over most of the Rocky Mountain states.

The Republican candidates did flood the state with campaign literature. But Romney, who lived next-door in Utah while reviving the Winter Olympics, did that and then also visited twice while three of his five sons also worked the state; one son, Josh, owns a ranch in southwest Wyoming. Romney has quietly made stops in several of the less-populated once-reliably Republican states including Montana and Wyoming. And today he was rewarded with at least a minor public relations victory, seven delegates, just four days after his disappointing second-place finish in Iowa.

"Today," Romney said in a statement to be issued shortly, "the people of Wyoming took the first step towards bringing true conservative change to Washington.  From Gillette to Jackson and Riverton to Cheyenne, my family and I visited Wyoming many times, meeting with residents and addressing the issues most important to voters in the Cowboy State."

It's not big like the win in Iowa by Mike Huckabee, who got none of Wyoming's delegates, something of an embarrassment since former Wyo. Gov. Jim Geringer is a Huckabee national co-chair. Nor did big-city boy Rudy Giuliani win any. Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter, two conservatives who both campaigned in the Cowboy state, each won delegates, two for Thompson, one for Hunter. Ron Paul, a Texan who also campaigned there and beat Giuliani in Iowa, won none.

In one line of his upcoming statement sure to go down well in Wyoming, Romney added: "I will continue to campaign in this important state as the remainder of its delegates are selected and through to the general election in November. This is just the beginning." The candidate also vowed to fight for restoration of the half of Wyoming's total 28 delegates rescinded by the Republican National Committee as punishment for moving its selection date ahead of Feb. 5. Romney's Wyoming victory coincided with release of a new TV ad for New Hampshire, revealing some more rhetorical passion than other recent Romney ads.

All the GOP candidates were in New Hampshire for Tuesday's primary and focusing on tonight's ABC-TV debates and tomorrow's partial Republican debate on Fox News.

--Andrew Malcolm

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