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Former UN ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is sounding off ahead of the Nevada GOP primary on Tuesday, claiming that the contest is “rigged” on behalf of her main challenger and Republican presidential leader, Donald Trump.
Haley decided to skip out on the race weeks ago choosing instead to focus campaign resources elsewhere.
“In terms of Nevada, we have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada. We made the decision early on that we were not going to pay $55,000 to a Trump entity that you know to participate in a process that was rigged for Trump,” Betsy Ankeny, Haley’s campaign manager, said during a call with reporters on Monday, the Washington Examiner reported. “Nevada is not and has never been our focus.”
The decision has also resulted in a nearly total abandonment of Nevada by other Republican candidates due to their perception that the Nevada Republican Party maintains unwavering loyalty to Trump.
“We’re not sure what the Trump team is up to out there, but the base seemed pretty spun up about it, but we are focused on South Carolina,” Ankeny added, noting that Haley is laser-focused on winning her home state of South Carolina.
The situation in Nevada is in many ways unique because there are essentially going to be two GOP primaries, the first of which — on Tuesday — Haley is likely to win. But it won’t matter in the long run.
“For Republican voters in Nevada, Tuesday’s state-run Republican ballot only has (Haley) as a major candidate. She is therefore all but guaranteed to win, but it’s largely meaningless,” Reuters explained.
“That’s because only candidates participating in a separate Republican caucus on Thursday can compete for the state’s 26 delegates to the Republican National Convention in July when the party formally nominates its candidate,” the outlet continued. The Trump-friendly state party is running the competing caucus, and since only Trump is on the ballot, he is almost certainly going to win on Thursday and win all of the state’s delegates.
Voters can participate in both primaries. Some reports have said that pro-Trump voters may show up on Tuesday and vote “none of the above,” which would be seen as a protest vote against Haley.
Joe Lombardo, the state’s Republican governor and a Trump supporter, has said he will vote “none of the above” on Tuesday and caucus for Trump on Thursday, meaning Haley’s main “challenger” on Tuesday will likely be Trump supporters marking “none of the above” on their primary ballots.
The Trump-friendly Nevada Republican Party decided to continue holding a caucus on February 8. State political parties, not the state, run presidential nominating caucuses. Party leaders viewed a caucus as helping Trump, because of his superior ground game in the state.
During a visit to Nevada last week, Trump urged voters to avoid the Tuesday primary and instead vote during Thursday’s election.
Trump is on the verge of securing the Republican presidential nomination following consecutive victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. Both Trump and Biden are now focusing on each other as they anticipate a probable rematch in the November general election.
Meanwhile, Haley is determined to remain in the Republican primary race, with her sights set on a potential final stand in her home state of South Carolina on February 24. However, she faces significant challenges in her path to the nomination, as opinion polls indicate she lags far behind Trump in South Carolina, Reuters added.