Republican front-runner Mitt Romney easily won Nevada's presidential contest on Saturday, U.S. television networks projected, taking command of the party's race to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama.

Romney's win in Nevada was his second in a row and third in the first five contests in the state-by-state Republican nominating battle. The well-funded and organized Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, crushed rivals Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.

(Reporting by John Whitesides, Editing by Peter Cooney)