Nikki Haley beaten by ‘None of these candidates’ option in quirky Nevada primary

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(WASHINGTON) — In Nevada’s unusual primary system, which includes a primary and caucus, Nikki Haley, the only Republican in the race aside from Donald Trump, was trounced by “None of these candidates,” an option in the primary ballot, according to an ABC News projection.

With 57% of the expected vote reported statewide for Republicans, “None of these candidates” is leading with 60% of the vote (26,038 votes). Nikki Haley has 33% (14,328), Mike Pence has 4% (1,793) and Tim Scott has 1% (543). Former President Donald Trump is not on the ballot.

The “None of these candidates” option’s lead over Haley had widened by nearly 15 points since the first GOP results dropped around 11:12 p.m. ET.

The Haley campaign did not respond directly to a question about losing to “None of these candidates” in the Nevada primary Tuesday night, instead releasing a statement where they seemingly called Thursday’s GOP caucuses a “game rigged for Trump.”

“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots the house wins. We didn’t bother to play a game rigged for Trump. We’re full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond,” the campaign’s statement read.

The winner of Thursday’s GOP contest, where Trump is on the ballot, will earn the delegates who help decide the 2024 nomination.

Nikki Haley, who is GOP front-runner Trump’s only remaining major challenger, is not running in the caucuses. Trump didn’t run in the primary.

As such, Trump is all but guaranteed to win the caucuses and the state’s 26 delegates for the GOP nomination.

The former president has also encouraged his supporters not to “waste” their time with the primary.

The discrepancy between the two contests is because Nevada Republicans wanted to keep their caucuses rather than switch to a new primary, as required by a recent state law.

For Democrats, there was only one contest: the primary on Tuesday, which President Joe Biden is projected to win over author Marianne Williamson and others. (Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, however, was not on the Democratic ballot after missing the filing deadline.)

Biden’s projected victory in the Democrats’ primary solidified into Tuesday night. With 71% of the expected vote recorded for Democrats, he has 90% (76,202) of the Democratic vote. The “None of these candidates” option has 6% (4,789) of the vote and Marianne Williamson has 3% (2,117).

Early voting in the primary began on Jan. 27 and ran through Friday. The state has closed primaries, meaning only registered Democrats and Republicans could participate, but ballots are unique in that voters could choose “none of these candidates.”

State significance

Nevada is a key swing state in the 2024 election. In 2020, it narrowly went for Biden.

The president, appearing to be looking toward November’s election, blasted Trump while campaigning in Nevada this past weekend.

“Trump and his MAGA friends are dividing us, not uniting us. Dragging us back to the past, not leading us in the future,” Biden said at a get-out-the-vote rally in North Las Vegas.

Trump, for his part, has labeled Biden as the “real threat … But we keep marching forward.”

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