By DÁNICA COTO (Associated Press)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Donald Trump amassed one other win at a Republican caucus held Thursday within the U.S. Virgin Islands, the place officers flouted a number of GOP get together guidelines, together with holding the competition sooner than allowed.
The caucus is the third Republican contest held this election season with delegates at stake, with Trump receiving 73.98% of the votes and Nikki Haley 26.02%.
“I want to thank you all. We had a tremendous victory,” Trump stated in short remarks by telephone to those that gathered in St. Thomas to listen to the outcomes. “We expected to win, but we didn’t expect to win by that much. You are incredible people I will never forget.”
Voters in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John flocked to a wide range of venues, together with a rum bar, to appoint their candidate utilizing ranked-choice voting.
“’The weather is terrible, but we’ve had a great turnout,” stated Valerie Stiles, a 71-year-old who works in retail gross sales and voted early on Thursday.
Stiles, who has lived 31 years on St. Croix, stated many citizens are offended about low wages and excessive inflation, including that she was delighted the caucus was held earlier than Super Tuesday.
“The (US) territories are overlooked a lot of the time,” she stated.
Republicans have already had three contests — in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — though the latter didn’t award any delegates and didn’t have Trump on the poll.
Joining Trump on Thursday’s poll have been Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Perry Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy, though solely Trump and Haley are nonetheless within the operating.
Trump already has secured two different wins within the Republican presidential race and is the one main candidate on the poll in Nevada’s GOP caucuses on Thursday.
Republican get together officers within the U.S. Virgin Islands stated they opted to carry the competition early to make sure the U.S. territory performed an necessary function within the nomination of a candidate.
“As the Virgin Islands, like the other territories, doesn’t get to vote for president in the general election, it was important to ensure the voice and votes of voters … were heard,” Gordon Ackley, chairman of the Republican Party within the Virgin Islands, stated in an announcement to The Associated Press. “Every state and every territory should try to make itself and its voters as relevant as possible. It’s absurd that the same couple of states have a monopoly on the calendar.”
GOP guidelines state that solely Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina can maintain primaries or caucuses earlier than March 1. In addition, any contest held earlier than March 15 should award delegates proportionally, whereas the U.S. Virgin Islands did so by way of ranked-choice voting.
“The Virgin Islands didn’t break any rules,” Ackley stated. “We merely took advantage of an existing rule in the national Republican rules to award our nine delegates proportionally, except if the winning candidate wins with more than 50% of the vote.”
Officials within the U.S. Virgin Islands stated they plan to ship 9 delegates and 6 alternates to the upcoming Republic National Convention that might be held in Wisconsin in July. However, the Republican National Committee has stated the U.S. Virgin Islands has 4 delegates.
If they insist on sending 9, they must seem earlier than the conventions committee on credentials and await a report that may decide who will get seated to all the conference.
Associated Press journalist Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, D.C. contributed.