Nikki Haley loses Nevada Republican primary to ‘none of these candidates’

Nikki Haley suffered an embarrassing loss in the Republican presidential primary in Nevada Tuesday, receiving fewer votes than the “none of these candidates” option, according to the Associated Press.

It was a contest that former President Trump did not compete in and which the state party tried to have canceled. Nonetheless, a combination of intense support for Trump and distaste for Haley among Republican voters in the state combined to deal her an unusual humiliation.

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Trump will be on the Nevada ballot later this week

Trump is expected to win the Republican caucuses on Thursday. That contest, and not the primary, will decide who wins Nevada’s 26 delegates. The eventual winner of the Republican presidential primary will need to win 1,215 delegates to clinch the nomination. Trump has 33 delegates to Haley’s 17.

Haley’s campaign manager said this week that the Nevada caucuses are “rigged for Trump” and said that Haley had “not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada.” Because Haley competed in the primary, the Republican Party ruled that she was forbidden to compete in the caucuses.

FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Reno, Nevada, U.S. December 17, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Reno, Nevada. December 17, 2023. Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Why Nevada is holding 2 primary elections

The confusing situation in Nevada stems from a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in that state. Democrats in the Nevada legislature passed a law in 2021 that moved the state from a caucus to a primary system.

Caucuses are famous because of Iowa, but they are far less common across the country because they limit the number of voters to a much smaller number. Voters have to show up at a certain time on a certain day, usually at night, and they have to remain at the caucus site for an extended period of time to hear speeches and go through the voting process.

In a primary, voters can show up in the hours that polls are open on Election Day, cast their ballot and leave. And many states now offer early voting, which expands access.

Nevada Democrats were trying to move their state up in the nominating process, to take advantage of the national party’s desire to give more-diverse states a bigger role. And ultimately, the Democratic National Committee did move Nevada’s primary to second in the process, after South Carolina.

President Biden, as expected, handily won the Nevada Democratic primary on Tuesday.

But Nevada Republicans did not want to use a primary, and last year the Nevada GOP insisted on using a caucus. They got their wish, but when the Nevada GOP also tried to get the state primary canceled, state officials refused.

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