Haley Loses to ‘None of These Candidates’ in Nevada Primary

No delegates are awarded in the Nevada GOP primary. Trump is participating in the state’s GOP Caucus held on Feb. 8.

LAS VEGAS–In one of the strangest elections in recent times, candidate Nikki Haley technically lost to “None of Those Candidates” in an unofficial Republican primary on Feb. 6.

The race was called on 12:01 a.m. Eastern. “None of These Candidates” won 61 percent to Haley’s 32 percent, with 53 percent reporting.

Ms. Haley’s embarrassing setback in the Silver State will have no real effect on the rest of the race—given that no delegates will be awarded—other than providing additional fodder for campaign rhetoric.

But political analysts have said that if Ms. Haley made a poor showing in the “meaningless” primary, it could influence whether she decides to remain in the race.

Regardless of the vote total, “None” cannot be listed as the winner, officials said, so that honor would belong to the second-place finisher.

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Ms. Haley, formerly a United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor, is opposing fellow Republican Donald Trump, who chose to run in the caucus two days after the primary.

The Feb. 8 caucus is the only contest that counts; it will award delegates to the winner at the Republican Party’s national convention this summer. Candidates were required to choose between the two options, but voters were allowed to vote in both contests.

The state GOP enacted those rules in defiance of the state-mandated primary that Democrat-dominant lawmakers approved. Democrats held a separate primary, which the incumbent, President Joe Biden, easily won.

Ms. Haley’s campaign issued a statement on Feb. 5, explaining part of her rationale for avoiding the  Republican-run Nevada caucus.

“We have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada,” Betsy Ankney, Haley’s campaign manager, said in the emailed campaign memo. She said Ms. Haley was refusing to pay the state GOP its required $55,000 caucus-filing fee “to participate in a process that is rigged for Trump.”

Bruce Parks, chairman of Nevada’s Washoe County GOP, denied that allegation. He said the caucus process is fair to all who opted to participate.

Mr. Parks previously told The Epoch Times that he and other Nevadans felt that Ms. Haley was thumbing her nose at Nevada by refusing to participate in the caucus and by largely being absent from their state.

That’s why Mr. Parks said he was rooting for “None” to get more votes than Ms. Haley in the primary.

Ms. Haley’s campaign statement continued, “Nevada is not and has never been our focus.”

Instead, Ms. Haley has been banking on a victory in her home state where she served two terms as governor, South Carolina.

Republicans will hold their First in the South primary there on Feb. 24. South Carolina Democrats held a separate primary on Feb. 2; Democrat President Joe Biden won as predicted.

Ms. Ankney criticized President Trump for holding no campaign events in South Carolina in the two weeks following his victory in New Hampshire’s first-in-nation primary. She said Ms. Haley has held 11 events in South Carolina during that span, with thousands of attendees.

However, President Trump has scheduled a “Get out the Vote” rally on Feb. 10 in Conway, South Carolina.

Ms. Ankney also touted Ms. Haley’s recent fundraising haul, signaling that support for her candidacy is building. Her campaign raised $16.5 million during January from 70,000 new donors—the campaign’s largest month to date, she said.

Steven Cheung, spokesman for President Trump’s campaign, retorted that Ms. Haley is “searching for anyone who can fund her pipe dream—even if it means begging Democrats to buoy her candidacy.”

“Her entire political existence hinges on Democrats giving her money and invading Republican elections,” Mr. Cheung said. In New Hampshire, a large number of Democrats and independents voted for Ms. Haley in the state’s “semi-open” Republican primary.

With those votes, she was able to close some of the gap that separated her from President Trump. But he still won by 11 percentage points.

He is considered a shoo-in to win the Nevada caucus.

President Trump, Mr. Binkley, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will appear on the ballot. Because Mr. DeSantis recently suspended his campaign, “only caucus votes cast for President Trump or Binkley will be counted toward awarding Nevada’s delegates,” a notice from the Trump campaign said.
As of Feb. 5, President Trump was enjoying a 27-point lead over Ms. Haley in South Carolina, according to the RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls.

However, some Democrats say they intend to cross over and vote on the Republican ballot in South Carolina’s open primary, which allows any registered voter to cast a ballot in either party’s primary election, but they cannot vote in both parties’ primaries.

Local Democrat Party leaders have discouraged those considering crossover voting in South Carolina. But in any case, they are expected to make little impact in a race where President Trump leads by double-digits.

Lawrence Wilson contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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