Nikki Haley Faces Defeat in Nevada Republican Primary

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Nikki Haley losing

On Tuesday, in the Nevada Republican primary, Nikki Haley faced a decisive defeat with the option “None of these candidates,” signaling trouble for her campaign as she seeks significant electoral momentum against her opponent, former President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: Nikki Haley, the Republican nominee for president, campaigning in South Carolina. © Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Despite the anticipated majority of votes, Nikki Haley received almost half as many votes by Wednesday morning with the information of expected additional votes. “None of these candidates,” Haley, who faced stiff competition from two former GOP candidates – Mike Pence and Tim Scott – in Nevada’s primary ballot. Pence and Scott collectively garnered a few thousand votes, with several hundred votes going to smaller candidates.

Nikki Haley’s campaign didn’t directly address her losses but issued a statement where they termed Thursday’s competitor caucus as “rigged for Trump,” an allegation the Nevada Republican Party has repeatedly denied.

Nikki Haley’s campaign manager also stated on Tuesday that “we haven’t spent a dime in Nevada and not a single ounce of energy.” Following the clear results, the Haley campaign reiterated”Even Donald Trump is aware that the house always wins when playing penny slots,” they said in their statement. We didn’t play rigged games for Trump.

We are strong in South Carolina and beyond.” Nevertheless, the primaryresults come as a blow to Nikki Haley’s position among GOP voters as she was the only major candidate in the race and was hoping for a significant win with substantial turnout supported by some allies – where Trump is the sole major contender and is expected to win – as primaries typically see more participation due to their more accessible format.

Due to state party rules, Haley was ineligible to win any delegates in Nevada, where candidates participating in the primary were declared ineligible (amid controversy over preserving the caucus tradition), and Haley’s allies were banking on a win in the primary to boost her chances.

 Serving as messaging boost. Trump reacted to Haley’s Nevada loss on his social media platform, calling it a “bad night” for his Republican challenger. Several state party officials told ABC News after the launch that the expected outcome in the state was based on the prevailing mood among Republicans at the primary level.

 Nevada Republican Party National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreidt told ABC News, “It was somewhat of an expected outcome.” Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, who recently endorsed Trump, also hinted that they would not vote for “any of these candidates.”

“This is the third state I’ve been to, and as of today, I haven’t seen any strength in her (Haley),” DeGraffenreidt further said.

Clark County Republican Party Chairman JC Clark echoed the sentiment. He argued, “This outcome was expected because Nikki Haley was running against the American people and Nevada voters noticed.”

Many Nevada Republicans grew angry with Haley’s decision to participate in the state-run primary, which the state GOP aggressively opposed by staying with the party-run caucus and announcing that winning delegates would be the only way to victory.

These Republicans in Nevada saw Haley’s move as a sign that she holds their representatives in such disregard that she could fully ignore them. Haley has also struggled to gain traction in the state, running very few or no ground campaigns and making only one brief appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Katalo Coalition last year.

file photo: Trump

 ABC News spoke with Nevada voters leaving polling stations on Tuesday, many of whom said they were Trump supporters planning to caucus on Thursday. “Today, I voted for ‘none of these candidates’ because, on Thursday, I’m voting for President Trump, whom I will continue to vote for,” said Doug Durbin, who said he cast his vote in the Republican primary.

 The Veterans Memorial Community Center partially issued a “statement” on Tuesday afternoon. Durbin said many of his fellow Republican primary participants were not motivated to participate, and he emphasized the importance of exercising the right to vote in one way or another.

“I have one leg – I’m an amputee – and I’m here today because, as you said, to make a statement and more importantly to ensure that my vote does not go to others,” Durbin said. Similarly, another Nevada Republican voter, Jill Langerman, told ABC News as she left a polling station on Tuesday afternoon that she voted for someone other than Haley and was planning to caucus for Trump, even though she felt he was only “the lesser of two evils,” mentioning President Biden.

 Nevada Republican Party member Jill Douglas, who volunteered as a poll worker at a polling station on Tuesday, said Republicans were not motivated to participate in the primary and seemed divided among incoming people.

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