Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is Trump’s only serious challenger in the Republican presidential race after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his presidential bid following the Iowa caucus, remains determined to challenge Trump to the very end. But Nikki Haley just suffered a major blow and huge embarrassment in Nevada on Tuesday.
Since few years ago, Nevada adopted a one-of-a-kind voting system that lets Republicans hold their own caucus, which they consider to be the official one. The Republican caucus in Nevada will take place on Thursday, and Trump will only face businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley on the ballot.
With that, Trump has secured his win in the state, even scheduling a celebration party for later in the day. However, voters are allowed to vote in the primary election. On Tuesday, the only Republican name on the ballot was Nikki Haley, and voters had the option to choose between her and “none of these candidates”. And Haley finished far behind “none of these candidates” in a presidential primary in which Donald Trump didn’t even compete.
The voting process in Nevada and Haley’s result
Haley came in second to “none of these candidates” in a primary that didn’t even matter for winning delegates for the Republican Party’s nomination for president. The real contest, where delegates can be won, is happening later this week, and Trump is expected to easily win.
People supporting Haley were trying to stay positive before Tuesday, even though she hasn’t won any state yet in the primary. Some of Trump’s fans were told to vote for “none of these candidates” to show they didn’t support her.
“Trump’s supporters will follow that man through the gates of hell,” said Chuck Muth, a former Nevada Republican Party executive director and conservative activist and writer.
Haley losing to “none of these candidates” isn’t the first time this has happened. It also occurred in a Democratic primary for governor in 2014. However, for Haley, who is the last major candidate trying to beat Trump in the Republican primary, this loss was a big setback and quickly became a joke. She was nearly 30 points behind, with only about half of the votes counted.
While Trump’s supporters in Nevada had encouraged Republicans to select “none of these candidates,” Trump himself decided against meddling in the primary, instead urging his supporters to “just do the caucus thing.”
Candidates can only appear on one ballot in Nevada
The party rules stopped candidates from joining both the state-run primary and the party’s own caucus. Haley’s team decided to not focus on that state, calling the process unfairly in favor of Trump. Instead, she spent her time in South Carolina getting ready for its primary on February 24. She also went to California to gather support and funds, aiming for the big primary day on March 5.
In Nevada, Trump officials were a little bit worried because of the dual-voting system and they feared that Nikki Haley might get more votes in the primary than Trump does in the caucus, especially since Trump had big wins in both the Iowa and New Hampshire races. However, it’s more than evident that that is not going to happen now.
In the upcoming caucus, Trump is expected to easily win against his only challenger, Ryan Binkley, a businessman and pastor with little chance of winning. This victory for Trump would mean he collects all the delegates from this event and moves on to compete in South Carolina, where he is also expected to do well.