LAS VEGAS — Former President Donald Trump easily won the Nevada caucuses on Thursday, NBC News projects, the fourth contest he has captured on his march to the GOP nomination.
It was a glide path for Trump, who faced no major competition in the caucuses after most of his opponents dropped out of the race and the last one standing, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, chose to compete in Nevada’s state-sponsored primary Tuesday. In an embarrassing defeat, Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, lost decisively to “none of these candidates,” by at least 30 points, according to the most recent vote tally.
Trump gloated about the defeat on his Truth Social platform, writing: “A bad night for Nikki Haley. Losing by almost 30 points in Nevada to ‘None of These Candidates.’ Watch, she’ll soon claim Victory!”
Trump’s victory Thursda, in which he claimed all 26 of Nevada’s GOP delegates, further cements his dominance among Republicans, even as Haley pledges she’ll stay in the race for the Feb. 24 South Carolina primary and possibly beyond. Haley had been making the rounds in California, which votes on Super Tuesday, March 5, during Nevada’s two contests.
Trump, however, had held recent rallies in Las Vegas, where he told Republicans “don’t waste your time” on the state-run primary. “It doesn’t mean anything,” he said, encouraging them instead to take part in the caucuses.
Trump was expected to attend a caucus watch party here after the contest concluded.
This was the first time in years that Nevada held primaries instead of caucuses, after the Democratic-led Legislature in 2021 changed the law. The state Republican Party, though, decided to break off on its own and hold a caucus in addition to the primary but dictated that candidates could compete in only one or the other. Delegates are awarded only in the caucuses.
Haley had said she wouldn’t take part in the caucuses because, she contended, they were rigged for Trump by GOP insiders who had pledged their allegiance to him.
Six members of the Nevada Republican Party have been indicted on allegations that they acted as false electors for Trump in the 2020 race. They include party Chair Michael McDonald and Vice Chair Jim DeGraffenreid, who also had their cellphones seized and testified before a grand jury in the federal investigation into Trump’s attempting to overturn the 2020 election.
Nevada could also play a pivotal role in the general election, as evidenced by President Joe Biden’s presence in the state in the days preceding Tuesday’s primary. Biden easily won the state’s Democratic primary with nearly 90% of the vote.
The next stop for the GOP primaries is Haley’s home state of South Carolina, where she is trailing Trump significantly, according to recent polling.