Former President Trump is projected to win the Nevada GOP’s caucus, according to Decision Desk HQ, two days after fellow presidential candidate Nikki Haley lost in a primary there that didn’t count toward the nomination.
The state GOP’s rules barred Haley from being in the caucus due to her participation in the primary, where she suffered an embarrassing defeat to “none of the above candidates.” The state party said it would only award delegates for the Republican National Convention (RNC) to the winner of the caucus.
The dueling Republican primary and caucus dates, just two days apart, have sown confusion for voters in the Silver State.
Despite a plan under a new state law to hold a presidential preference primary, the Nevada GOP said it would effectively ignore the state-run primary results and move forward with its long-standing caucus setup.
“Your primary vote doesn’t mean anything. It’s your caucus vote,” Trump told supporters in Las Vegas last month.
Trump won both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary in January, scoring 32 delegates of the 1,215 Republican candidates need to earn the party nod. There were another 26 up for grabs in Nevada, according to Decision Desk HQ.
Though the state GOP said only the caucus would have bearing on delegate allocation, Silver State voters were allowed to participate in both contests. Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) told The Nevada Independent he planned to vote in both races, siding with Trump in the caucus and voting for “none of the above” in the primary.
With the warring primary-caucus split, Haley and Trump, who are now head-to-head in the Republican presidential race, didn’t go directly against each other in Nevada.
Attention now turns to South Carolina, Haley’s home state and the next state to vote in the GOP calendar with its primary Feb. 24. After finishing behind Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, Haley’s faced questions about how she’ll fare in the Palmetto State, where Trump is polling with a significant lead.
But Haley has stressed confidence as the next contest approaches.
“In New Hampshire, I moved 25 points in three weeks,” Haley said last week. “We are anywhere and everywhere in South Carolina.”