Haley makes history in Nevada primary
US presidential candidate Nikki Haley has received the support of just over 30% of registered Republican voters in a state-organized primary election in Nevada, according to preliminary results on Tuesday, with two-thirds of the votes counted.
With frontrunner Donald Trump absent from the ballot, the “none of these candidates” option was picked by more than 60% of the voters. In accordance with state law, Haley was nevertheless declared the winner.
The GOP is set to separately hold a party caucus on Thursday night, in which Trump is expected to get the backing of all 26 state delegates. The Republican leadership opposed Nevada’s 2021 decision to set up primary elections for both parties and said it will continue using caucuses for the nomination process. The two-trek selection left many GOP voters confused, as they couldn’t find Trump’s name on the ballot, US media reported.
Haley’s campaign downplayed the outcome, stating that she did not campaign in Nevada because the entire process was “rigged for Trump,” according to her spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas. Trump declared Tuesday a “bad night” for Haley and predicted that “she’ll soon claim victory,” reacting on his Truth Social platform.
Despite its largely symbolic nature, the rejection of Haley’s candidacy by Nevadans became the latest blow for the former South Carolina governor. It was her third consecutive loss in an early-state primary contest and the first ever case of a US presidential candidate being defeated by an unlisted rival. Previously Haley ended third in Iowa and second in New Hampshire. She is set to face Trump in her home state on February 24.
On the Democratic side, incumbent President Joe Biden secured nearly 90% of the vote. Some 150,000 people cast their ballots personally or by mail-in in both primary elections, corresponding to 13% turnout, according to the office of Nevada State Secretary Francisco Aguilar.