Nevada voters head to polls in Republican primary where Nikki Haley hasn’t spent an ‘ounce of energy’ and Trump isn’t on the ballot


By Nikki Schwab, Senior U.S. Political Reporter

12:20 06 Feb 2024, updated 12:26 06 Feb 2024

  • Nevada voters are headed to the polls Tuesday to vote in the state’s primary, which will award no delegates toward the GOP nomination
  • Instead the Nevada Republican Party is holding a caucus Thursday evening and former President Donald Trump is the only viable candidate on the ballot
  • Nikki Haley decided months ago to participate in the primary, with her campaign manager saying she’s skipping the state due to it being ‘rigged’ for Trump



Nevada‘s voters are headed to the polls today to vote in the state’s primary, where former President Donald Trump is not on the ballot and rival Nikki Haley hasn’t spent an ‘ounce of energy.’ 

In a confounding turn of events, Nevada Republicans can vote in two elections this week – Tuesday’s primary, which will award no delegates toward the GOP nomination, and then a Thursday evening caucus. 

What happened is that in 2021 the state legislature passed a law to establish a primary and do away with the traditional caucuses, which limit turnout and have been subject to reporting errors. 

Primaries are run by the states, where voters show up to polling places on specific dates – early or on Election Day – or participate by mail-in ballot, whereas caucuses are meetings where votes are cast at a specific time and are managed by political parties.

While Nevada’s new law was passed with bipartisan support, the Trump-aligned Nevada Republican Party objected to it, successfully suing the state to keep control of the delegates, which will be awarded to the caucus-winner. 

Former President Donald Trump’s name won’t appear on Nevada’s primary ballot Tuesday, as he decided to participate in Thursday’s Republican caucus, where candidates can earn delegates toward the GOP nomination
This week Nevada will host two opportunities for Republicans to vote – a Tuesday primary and a Thursday evening caucus, which will likely lead to confusion as Nikki Haley is only on the primary ballot, and hasn’t campaigned in the state, while Trump will participate in the caucus

As the Republican primary field took shape, the candidates were forced to choose between between participating in the primary or earning delegates via the caucus. 

The state Republican Party forbid candidates who participated in the primary from having their names listed on the caucus ballot as well. 

Haley – as well as failed 2024 hopefuls former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott – decided to participate in the primary. 

She’ll be the main Republican candidate listed on Tuesday’s primary ballot, though Trump supporters can choose ‘none of the above’ to get their message across.

Democrats will also vote Tuesday – with President Joe Biden and self-help guru Marianne Williamson listed on that ballot – as Biden’s other challenger, Rep. Dean Phillips, got in the race too late to make Nevada’s filing deadline.

Williamson has been actively campaigning in the state this week, while Biden participated in campaign events in Las Vegas Sunday and Monday.

Nevada is also a vital swing state in the November general election.  

Nikki Haley, Trump’s remaining GOP rival, is photographed campaigning in South Carolina ahead of the Palmetto State’s February 24 primary. Haley did not spend an ‘ounce of energy’ in Nevada, her campaign manager said, explaining that the process was ‘rigged’ for Trump
The Democratic primary will also take place in Nevada Tuesday, with President Joe Biden and self-help guru Marianne Williamson on the ballot. Biden’s other challenger, Rep. Dean Phillips, did not make the filing deadline. Biden campaigned in the state Sunday and Monday

Nevada voters have the option to change their party registration when they arrive at the polls Tuesday.

Haley’s Campaign Manager Betsy Ankney made clear Monday that the former U.N. ambassador wasn’t playing ball in the state and thus the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

‘We have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada,’ Ankney told reporters. ‘We aren’t going to pay $55,000 to a Trump entity to participate in a process that is rigged for Trump. Nevada is not and has never been our focus.’

‘I’m truly not sure what the Trump team is up to out there but they seem pretty spun up about it,’ Ankney added. 

Later Monday Trump’s spokesman Steven Cheung said that by Thursday’s Nevada caucuses Haley ‘will be a three-time loser walking a lonely path to her sweet state of South Carolina.’ 

Haley has made moves this week that indicate she plans to stay in the race beyond South Carolina’s February 24 primary, including planning an event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, with California voters heading to the polls on Super Tuesday, March 5.

Trump will hold a caucus results watch party in Las Vegas Thursday evening at the Treasure Island Resort & Casino, his campaign announced

She’s also asked for Secret Service protection

On Thursday, between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nevada Republicans will participate in their caucus. 

Trump – along with failed candidates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and entreprenuer Vivek Ramaswamy – all decided to go the caucus route.

With DeSantis, Burgum, Christie and Ramaswamy having dropped out, just Trump and uber-longshot candidate Ryan Binkley will be on the ballot and be eligible to pick up Nevada’s 26 delegates.

While Trump already held one rally in the Silver State ahead of voting, the former president will return and address supporters at a watch party Thursday at the Treasure Island Resort & Casino, his campaign announced.


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