Donald Trump, whose name is written in the Las Vegas skyline, is the winner of the Nevada caucuses, NBC News projects.
Republican voters showed up in droves for the GOP presidential race Tuesday night at Nevada’s party caucuses, the fourth such nomination contest to date and the final one before the high-stakes “Super Tuesday” match-ups in 11 states on March 1.
Caucus-goers began gathering between 8:00 p.m. ET and 10:00 p.m. ET and submitted votes by paper ballot. The meetings ended at midnight ET or 9 p.m. Vegas time.
A crowd of several hundred supporters gathered at Trump's Nevada watch party at the Treasure Island hotel in Las Vegas burst into cheers and screams as they realized that the billionaire had won the state's caucuses.
Some shouted "USA! USA!" as the caucus results rolled in.
Trump took the stage for his victory speech saying, "We love Nevada!"
He added, "We will be celebrating for a long time!"
The Nevada win means Trump has now taken three contests in a row — including New Hampshire and South Carolina — and he came in second place for the Iowa caucus.
Outlining his strategy to take the important states of Florida, Texas, Ohio and Michigan, Trump said, "It's going to be an amazing two months ... we might not even need the two months to be honest."
In noting the various demographics that he won, Trump also crowed, "I love the poorly educated!"
While results for second were close, Sen. Marco Rubio was leading Sen. Ted Cruz by a narrow margin.
Early numbers had Trump taking 44 percent of the Nevada Republican vote, with Rubio garnering 24 percent, and Cruz getting 21 percent.
Reports Tuesday night indicated that some caucus-goers faced confusion and disorder at their appointed sites.
One GOP source told NBC News that there was "loose rule enforcement" at one Las Vegas caucus site, saying that volunteers were passing out completed ballots and actively advocating for candidates.
But the Nevada Republican Party insisted late Tuesday that there had been no official complaints.
The Nevada contest is notoriously hard to predict, in part because of particularly low turnout, but Donald Trump was considered the favorite in a state where the largest city includes a hotel and casino bearing the Trump name.
Vying for at least a momentum-building second place showing are Ted Cruz, who followed up his Iowa triumph with a disappointing third in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, and Marco Rubio, who has begun to consolidate establishment support but has yet to win a single primary race.
Rubio has been highlighting the six years that he spent in the state as a child, when his family briefly relocated to Las Vegas in the late 1970s to seek a better life.
The Nevada contest comes at a particularly acrimonious point in the campaign. On Monday, Cruz fired a top aide amid accusations of dirty tricks. On the same day, Trump raised the notion of physical violence towards a protester at one of his events, telling supporters in Las Vegas “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
Once the Nevada results are in the books, the Republican race will turn to the so-called “Super Tuesday” states that hold their contests on March 1.
Related: Nevada Caucus Results
Republicans in 11 states — Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia – will cast ballots in the GOP race. The primary and caucus contests on March 1 comprise a total of 595 delegates up for grabs, by far the campaign’s biggest single-day potential haul.
And the epicenter of the day’s high stakes will be in Texas, Cruz’s populous home state, where candidates will likely slice up a pie of 155 delegates, more than the four previous nominating contests combined.
The concentration of southern contests is sure to shift the Republican candidates’ attention back towards their appeals to evangelical voters. Those who describe themselves as white evangelicals or born-again Christians make up more than half of the GOP primary electorates in at least five of next Tuesday’s contests.
NBC's Alex Jaffe contributed.