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Mormon Vote Up For Grabs In NV GOP Caucus

Nevada's influential Mormons weren't taken for granted in the campaign for the state's Republican presidential caucuses Tuesday.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints only account for 4 percent to 5 percent of the population in Nevada, where the first white settlers were Mormon and the faith's bastion sits across the state line in Utah.

But they are apt to turn out and made up about a quarter of the electorate in the 2012 GOP caucuses won by Mitt Romney, a Mormon, according to voter surveys.

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They were expected to wield an outsized influence Tuesday after some prodding from the pulpit and after influential Mormons in the state took sides, mostly for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, an active member of the church, is chairman of Rubio's Nevada campaign.

Ted Cruz, too, played for Mormon support, particularly to a subset of conservatives most concerned that changes on the Supreme Court could erase religious liberties.

He often campaigned with conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck, a Mormon, who introduced Cruz at a weekend rally in Henderson with a half-hour speech warning that people of faith need to rise up because "the Constitution is hanging by a thread."