By MICHELLE L. PRICE, JONATHAN J. COOPER and GABE STERN (Associated Press)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The “none of these candidates” possibility has received in Nevada’s symbolic Republican presidential main contest, an embarrassing outcome for Nikki Haley, who was the one main candidate on the poll.
The former U.N. ambassador opted to compete within the state-run main election Tuesday as an alternative of the social gathering’s presidential caucuses, the one contest within the state that awards delegates towards the nomination. Former President Donald Trump is the one main candidate competing within the caucuses on Thursday and can probably sweep the state’s Republican delegates consequently.
Utilizing a quirk of Nevada election regulation, extra voters on Tuesday marked their main ballots for “none of these candidates” than solid their votes for Haley.
Haley had stated beforehand she was going to “focus on the states that are fair” and didn’t marketing campaign within the western state within the weeks main as much as the caucuses. Her marketing campaign wrote off the first outcomes with a reference to Nevada’s well-known on line casino business.
“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots the house wins,” spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas stated. “We didn’t bother to play a game rigged for Trump. We’re full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond.”
Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, a Republican, had introduced beforehand that he would vote for “none of these candidates” on Tuesday. Several Republicans interviewed heading to the polls stated they meant to do the identical.
Washoe County Republican Party Chair Bruce Parks, who pushed for the GOP to carry caucuses, stated that he instructed voters who referred to as his workplace — and Trump supporters — to take part within the main by voting for “none of these candidates” over Haley.
“They basically told us they don’t care about us,” Parks stated in an interview after the race was referred to as. “By marking ‘none of these candidates,’ we respond in kind — we don’t care about you either.”
There was additionally a Democratic main on Tuesday that President Joe Biden simply received in opposition to creator Marianne Williamson and a handful of less-known challengers. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota was not on the poll.
Haley’s marketing campaign balked on the $55,000 payment the Nevada GOP was charging candidates to take part within the caucuses.
“We have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada. We made the decision early on that we were not going to pay $55,000 to a Trump entity to participate in a process that is rigged for Trump,” Haley marketing campaign supervisor Betsy Ankney instructed reporters on Monday. “Nevada is not and has not been our focus.”
Nevada lawmakers added “none of these candidates” as an possibility in all statewide races as a means post-Watergate for voters to take part however specific dissatisfaction with their selections. “None” can’t win an elected workplace but it surely got here in first in main congressional contests in 1976 and 1978. It additionally completed forward of each George Bush and Edward Kennedy in Nevada’s 1980 presidential primaries.
The caucuses on Thursday are the one Nevada contest that rely towards the GOP’s presidential nomination. But they had been seen as particularly skewed in favor of Trump due to the extraordinary grassroots assist they require from candidates and new state social gathering guidelines that benefitted him additional.
Trump is predicted to handily win the caucuses, which ought to ship him all 26 of the state’s delegates. Delegates are social gathering members, activists and elected officers who vote on the nationwide social gathering conventions to formally choose the social gathering’s nominee.
“If your goal is to win the Republican nomination for president, you go where the delegates are. And it baffles me that Nikki Haley chose not to participate,” Trump’s senior marketing campaign adviser Chris LaCivita stated in an interview earlier than the first.
Nevada, the third state within the discipline after Iowa and New Hampshire, was set to carry a state-run main election as an alternative of party-run caucuses after Democrats controlling the Legislature modified the regulation to attempt to increase participation.
Caucuses sometimes require voters to indicate up for an in-person assembly at a sure day or time, whereas elections can provide extra flexibility to take part, with polls open for a lot of the day on Election Day, together with absentee or early voting.
But Nevada Republicans selected to carry party-run caucuses as an alternative, saying they wished sure guidelines in place, like a requirement that contributors present a government-issued ID.
The caucuses require a candidate to intensely manage supporters across the state with the intention to be aggressive, a feat that Trump, the previous president and prohibitive front-runner, was simply positioned to do.
The Nevada GOP additionally restricted the involvement of tremendous PACs just like the one Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was counting on to spice up his now-suspended marketing campaign. And the social gathering barred candidates from showing each on the first poll and within the caucuses.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott additionally signed as much as compete in Nevada’s main as an alternative of the caucuses earlier than ending their presidential campaigns.
Price reported from Washington and Stern from Reno, Nevada.