In a rather confusing electoral race in Nevada, Nikki Haley just lost Tuesday’s primary to “None of These Candidates.” Haley won 31% of the vote, while the None option won 63% of the vote, with 93% of the votes currently counted. These votes were mostly symbolic and did not award any delegates to candidates.
BREAKING: Nikki Haley took second place in Nevada's primary today to "none of these candidates," AP projects https://t.co/cfRG57EwGy
— Axios (@axios) February 7, 2024
The background for this election is more convoluted than most primaries or caucuses typically are. Nevada’s Democrat-held legislature changed the law in 2021, changing the voting process from party-led caucuses over to state-run primaries. Ostensibly, this change was to help improve voter access by mailing out primary ballots and giving more people the chance to vote in a state that’s seen dwindling voter participation.
Many Republicans were furious with this change, arguing that party-led caucuses are more secure and give voters the chance to meet with candidates. The Nevada GOP called the state primaries “illegitimate” and vowed to still hold caucuses in the state on Thursday. The GOP will only award delegates to the winners of Thursday’s caucus, essentially rendering Tuesday’s primary an empty gesture.
Moreover, candidates who appeared in one of these votes were essentially barred from appearing in the other vote. Former President Donald Trump is participating in the Nevada caucus and was not a candidate in the primary. Nikki Haley, his front-runner challenger, appeared on the primary ballot and will not be part of the caucus.
Haley’s refusal to participate in the Nevada Caucus was partially a protest against Trump and his allies. A Haley spokeswoman called the caucuses “rigged for Trump,” and said that their campaign wouldn’t spend a dime on the caucus system. The Nevada GOP required a $55,000 filing fee to join their caucus and banned any candidates who put their names on the Nevada primary ballot.
Haley’s loss to “None” was a sore blow for her, but she did not put much effort into campaigning in Nevada. Instead, she’s been putting much of her focus into her home state of South Carolina, where current polls show her trailing Trump. Her path to winning the candidacy is a nearly impossible one, and she will need a stunning win in South Carolina to have much hope of victory.