Trump wins Nevada, Virgin Islands


Former President Donald Trump picked up two victories on Thursday in the 2024 race for the White House.

The former president quickly notched a win over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ caucus. He also won Nevada’s Republican race, though he and Haley dodged a head-to-head fight in the Silver State.

That’s because Haley opted to participate in Nevada’s Republican primary on Tuesday, where she faced an embarrassing result. More voters in the state selected a “none of these candidates” option on their ballot than the former United Nations ambassador.

The caucuses on Thursday come after Trump already saw sweeping wins in two crucial early primary states, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Catch up with the USA TODAY Network’s coverage of the Nevada and Virgin Islands’ caucuses.

While Donald Trump hasn’t officially won the 2024 Republican nomination, he still looked to the general election after winning Nevada’s caucus. The former president thanked Nevadans for showing up, but he warned the state’s voters they are essential to his chances of winning the general election in November.

“This has been a tremendous state,” he said, adding that “we have to win the election.”

Trump stressed the importance of Nevada in the general election against Joe Biden and the Democrats: “If we win the state of Nevada, it’s over for them.”

−David Jackson

It’s official: Donald Trump wins Nevada caucuses

In the least surprising political development of the year, Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the Nevada caucuses and took all 26 of the Silver State’s convention delegates.

Trump’s supporters in Nevada organized the caucuses, despite a new state law requiring the parties to hold presidential primaries. Nevada’s GOP responded by holding a non-binding primary and keeping its caucuses. That was a benefit to Trump, given his support among the state’s Republican leadership.

Flexing their influence, many Trump Republicans used the Tuesday primary to cast ballots for “None of these candidates,” a category that carried more than 63% of the vote, well ahead of candidate Nikki Haley at just more than 30%.

− David Jackson

Democrats hit Donald Trump ahead of caucus results

The Democratic National Committee on Thursday said Donald Trump can win a Republican caucus in Nevada but vowed that he will lose the Silver State in the general election this fall, just as he has done twice before.

“Nobody knows how to lose Nevada like− Donald Trump – his back to back losses in 2016 and 2020 made him the first Republican in decades to lose the state twice,” said DNC Rapid Response Director Alex Floyd.

− David Jackson

Nevada’s Republican voters could participate in a primary and caucus this week, all as the state prepares to host the Super Bowl over the weekend.

While thousands of Nevada Republicans were participating in caucuses Thursday night across the state, in Las Vegas more focus was falling on the upcoming game, which is being played at the hometown Allegiant Stadium, which seats about 65,000.

Hotels are beginning to fill up, CBS broadcasters have taken over the promenade in front of the Bellagio’s famous fountains, and officially sanctioned NFL ambassadors were handing out commemorative buttons and snapping photos for fans.

Las Vegas officials predict the game will bring more than 330,000 tourists and generate $600 million in revenue

− Trevor Hughes

While Nevada’s GOP caucus is set to hand a victory to Donald Trump, the party’s next race on Nikki Haley’s home turf in South Carolina could inject a bolt of energy.

Haley, a former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, is setting her sights on the state with renewed vigor after finishing behind a disembodied “none of these candidates” option in the Nevada primary.

Though Haley is expected to fare better than in the Silver State, recent polling still shows Trump leading by a significant 26-point margin.

Both candidates will be in South Carolina this weekend as they prepare for the Palmetto State’s election. Haley will begin a two-week-long bus tour crisscrossing her home state Saturday, while Trump will headline a rally Saturday at Coastal Carolina University near Myrtle Beach. 

− Kathryn Palmer

Nevada pronunciation: Here’s what to know

The state is pronounced “Ne-VAD-uh” not “Ne-VAH-duh,” according to locals.  Many Nevadans are frustrated by the latter pronunciation, typically used by non-residents.

It’s a controversy Donald Trump has addressed in previous campaigns. In 2016, the then-candidate told a crowd of Nevadans that they have been mispronouncing the name of their state.

“When I came out here I said nobody says it the other way. It has to be Neh-VAH-da, right?”

– Anthony Robledo

Nikki Haley baits Donald Trump by making the Indiana ballot

Nikki Haley, who is skipping the Nevada caucuses because she says they are rigged for Trump, had a low-key Thursday. But she did find time to bait her Republican rival.

On the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, Haley posted a document attesting that she will be on the primary ballot in Indiana on May 7, despite Trump’s insistence that she had failed to qualify.

“We are officially on the ballot in Indiana,” Haley said. “Donald Trump was confused … again.”

− David Jackson

In Las Vegas, caucusgoer and Trump supporter Bob Roberts, 69, said he thinks the former president should have a chance to finish the plans he started during his first term, citing the economy and immigration. Roberts, who works in construction, said he doesn’t always agree with how Trump says or does things, but generally supports his policies.

“We need Trump in there now to finish what he tried to do the first time,” Roberts said, speaking outside the Cambridge Recreation Center a few blocks from the Strip. “I don’t agree with everything Tom Brady says either but he’s still the best quarterback ever.”

Clyda Bird, 64, echoed Roberts’ remarks about Trump’s personality.

“I wouldn’t want him for a husband but I liked him as a president. I wouldn’t want him to date my daughter, but I do want him to bring the price of gas down,” said Bird. “I’m tired of living Social Security check to Social Security check. Nobody has any money.”

Although the stock market has been booming, several voters said the high price of gas, food and housing costs driven up by high interest rates make them long for a return to Trump-era policies they felt were better for them personally.

“Bills are higher. It’s makes it really hard- the policies Biden has don’t even come close to solving our problems,” said church worker Watson Tanuvasa, 62. “And the border- we already have so many homeless in our country and we aren’t doing anything for them and yet we’re bringing in more.”

And Yolanda Amunatigui said she had more money under Trump. She said Biden’s policies are steering the United States away from the core values she thinks made it so successful: “We want change to make America great again. Sounds familiar, right?”

−Trevor Hughes

It’s not guaranteed when Nevada’s Republican caucus results will be finalized, but the caucuses began at 5 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. local time. That’s 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET. Find the results of the Nevada Republican presidential caucus on Feb. 6 when available here.

– Anthony Robledo

2024 race gets closer to a Biden vs. Trump rematch after Williamson drops out

The 2024 race is getting closer to a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden after author Marianne Williamson suspended her presidential campaign Wednesday.

Williamson ended her bid after she only won roughly 4% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary compared to Biden’s 63.9%. She also won 2.1% of the vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary compared to Biden’s 96.2%

On the Republican side, Trump has secured victory after victory in the Iowa Caucus, New Hampshire primary and Virgin Islands caucus against opponent Nikki Haley. He is also expected to win the Nevada caucus.

− Sudiksha Kochi

At the Cambridge Recreation Center a few blocks east of the Las Vegas strip, a handful of volunteers set up tables for members of the 11 precincts meeting there at 5 p.m.Dozens of sites across the city are being used as gathering sports where Republicans who registered last month will cast paper ballots after discussing party priorities and considering policy changes.The ballots will then be counted at least twice starting at 7:30 p.m., organizers, and the results called in to party officials.The caucus site sits about two miles from the shimmering gold-windowed Trump International Hotel.Later in the evening, Trump is hosting a victory party – his win is effectively guaranteed- at the Treasure Island casino.

− Trevor Hughes

Supreme Court contemplates keeping Trump’s name on Colorado ballot

While Donald Trump is seeking a sweeping victory in Nevada, he is also fighting to stay on Colorado’s ballot.

The U. S. Supreme Court on Thursday heard the former president’s appeal on the state’s ruling to disqualify him from the state’s primary. Under a provision of the 14th Amendment, Colorado’s Supreme Court has challenged Trump’s eligibility for president, alleging that he engaged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

During the just over two hours of oral arguments, U.S. justices discussed the practical implications of Colorado’s ruling and whether other state’s will be able to follow suit. Justices raised concerns about a mismatch of ballots across the country. 

“I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States,” Justice Elena Kagan, told the attorney for the Colorado voters challenging Trump’s eligibility.

– Anthony Robledo

Donald Trump takes Virgin Islands caucuses

Donald Trump has wrapped up his first victory of the night, winning the caucuses in the Virgin Islands.

“Pending the final canvas by the Caucus Committee, Trump received 73.98 percent of the vote compared to 26.02 percent for former Ambassador Nikki Haley,” said the Virgin Islands Republican Party announcement.

“Going third-in-the-nation with an unrigged caucus using ranked-choice voting not only gave every candidate a fair and equal playing field, but it resulted in unprecedented attention for the Virgin Islands,” said Republican Party in the Virgin Islands chairman Gordon Ackley. “Based on the results, the Virgin Islands has put Donald Trump on track to become the presumptive Republican nominee.”

– David Jackson

While Nikki Haley isn’t challenging Donald Trump in Nevada’s caucus, Texas businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley is competing in the race on Thursday.

Binkley announced his White House bid in April 2023, and he told the Des Moines Register he believed he could carve a lane in the GOP primary to prioritize unity and potential bipartisanship on financial, immigration and health care policy. You can learn more about him and other GOP candidates with the USA TODAY Network’s voter guides.

– Marina Pitofsky

Find the results for the Virgin Islands Republican Presidential Caucus Results when available here.

– Anthony Robledo

The U.S. Virgin Island GOP caucuses also take place on Thursday, with both Trump and Haley appearing on the ballot. Voting for the U.S. Virgin Island caucus took place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time at the St. Croix and St. Thomas locations. Voting at the St. John site took place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. AST

The caucus will a preferential or ranked-choice voting system, where voters rank candidates based off preference.

– Anthony Robledo

The Nevada caucuses begin at 5 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. local time, or 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET.

– Marina Pitofsky 

Donald Trump prepares for Nevada caucus by stressing classified documents report on Joe Biden

Donald Trump may be preparing for his remarks tonight in Nevada, but he spent a good chunk of his flight to Las Vegas posting about a new legal report on President Joe Biden.

A special counsel said Biden took classified documents when leaving office as vice president, but criminal charges are not warranted in part because a jury might seem him as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

While mocking Biden, Trump blasted the decision not to prosecute; he also called for dismissal of the classified documents case pending against him.

– David Jackson

Nikki Haley opted to participate in Nevada’s Republican primary, which was held on Tuesday. That means she and Donald Trump won’t directly compete against each other at all in the Silver State.

But Haley still didn’t see a landslide victory this week, as more primary voters cast their ballots for a ‘none of these candidates’ option on their ballot than the former governor. It was an bizarre result – and perhaps a trap set by the former president’s allies.

– Marina Pitofsky

No, Nevada held a Democratic primary on Tuesday. Joe Biden quickly clinched victory over his Democratic challengers.

One of those challengers, author Marianne Williamson, ended her presidential campaign on Thursday, telling her supporters “We articulated deeper, more authentic truths than those regularly acknowledged by the political establishment. And I’m not only glad we did that; I’m proud of it.”

– Marina Pitofsky

Thursday’s Nevada caucus isn’t part of the all-important election day known as Super Tuesday. But what is Super Tuesday?

The day which received its nickname because it marks the date when the greatest number of states hold their primaries and caucuses.

The states conducting elections on 2024’s Super Tuesday, March 5, include Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

– Sudiksha Kochi and Marina Pitofsky

Why is Donald Trump participating in the Nevada caucus? Dual contests confuse voters 

Washoe County Registrar of Voters Cari-Ann Burgess said there has been ongoing confusion among voters about the difference between the primary and the caucus.

“We get a lot of ‘why isn’t President Trump on our ballot?,'” Burgess said Tuesday morning ahead of the Nevada primary. “And the answer is he opted out of participating in the Nevada presidential preference primary. He just decided not to participate in ours, but he’s in the caucus.”

Under a 2021 state law, Nevada is required to hold presidential primary elections as long as there are at least two candidates for a party’s nomination.

But Republican Party officials ‒ many of whom participated in a 2020 effort to subvert the presidential election results in Trump’s favor ‒ decided last year to hold a binding caucus. They also tried unsuccessfully to stop the state from holding the primary.

Burgess said she isn’t directly coordinating with the state GOP because her office is non-partisan, so her staff doesn’t give out information about the caucuses. Instead, she has been trained to refer all questions to the party directly.

Nevada Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar said even his own friends called him up to complain about the dual contests, though his office alerted voters for months about the dueling contests, sending out postcards, posting signs and speaking to the media.

Nevada GOP has said previously it considered the primary election to be a waste of taxpayer dollars, and that party business should be funded and conducted by the party itself.

-Trevor Hughes

While a primary election is run by state and local governments, a caucus is run by political parties. A traditional primary election resembles the general election, with voting via private ballot.

A caucus, however, involves voters dividing themselves into groups based on the candidate they prefer and arguing for others to join them. At the end of the caucus, the number of members in each group determines how many delegates that candidate gets.

– Anna Kaufman

While Nikki Haley is trying to pick up momentum ahead of pivotal 2024 contests, she’s still trailing Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner.

In a Real Clear Politics average of polls of the Republican field, Trump garnered 74.4% support across the country. In comparison, Haley received 18.1% support, even after rivals such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and others dropped out of the GOP primary.

– Marina Pitofsky

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