Trump Supporters Choose “None of These Candidates”
Despite not being on the primary ballot, former President Donald Trump’s absence was enough for his last remaining major rival for the Republican nomination to lose by a wide margin in Nevada. The primary, where no GOP convention delegates were at stake, allowed voters to vote for “none of these candidates” instead of writing in Trump’s name. Trump supporters interviewed outside of polling stations confirmed that this is how they voted.
Two Competing Contests Cause Confusion
The confusion over having two competing contests dates back to 2021 when Democrats, who controlled both the state and the legislature at the time, changed the presidential nominating contest from caucuses to a state-run primary. The Nevada GOP objected, but their legal bid to stop the primary was rejected. As a result, the state GOP held their own caucuses, where all 26 delegates will be up for grabs.
Rival Candidates Skip the Caucus
Former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, along with other Republican presidential candidates, decided to skip the caucus, believing it was tipped in favor of Trump. The state GOP ruled that candidates on the primary ballot couldn’t participate in the caucuses. Haley’s campaign manager argued that they didn’t want to pay $55,000 to a Trump entity for a process they believed was rigged.
Trump Urges Supporters to Caucus
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has been urging supporters in Nevada to show up at the caucuses, as the primary vote holds no significance. Trump himself emphasized this at a rally in Las Vegas, stating, “Don’t worry about the primary, just do the caucus thing.” Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, a Trump supporter, confirmed that he would vote for “none of these candidates” in the primary and caucus for Trump in the state GOP’s contest.
Haley Ignores Nevada Primary
Haley, despite having her name on the ballot, did not campaign in Nevada ahead of the primary and has not been in the state since late October. Her campaign manager emphasized that Nevada was not their focus and no resources were allocated to the state.
Trump Criticizes Haley’s Loss
As the vote count continued, Trump took to his Truth Social network to criticize Haley, stating, “A bad night for Nikki Haley. Losing by almost 30 points in Nevada to ‘None of These Candidates.’ Watch, she’ll soon claim Victory!” Trump is expected to be in Las Vegas on Thursday for a caucus celebration.
Nevada as a Key Battleground State
This week’s contests in Nevada are just the beginning, as the state is expected to see significant campaign activity in the upcoming general election, being a key battleground state.