Caucuses have been falling out of fashion nationwide, as they are time-consuming, result in lower turnout, and are difficult for state parties to run. Democrats controlling the Nevada State Legislature passed a 2021 law mandating the state to hold a primary election for the Presidency, prompting the creation of a Republican primary for the crowded 2024 presidential race. However, the law left an easy workaround for Republican officials who preferred a caucus, given it did not mandate that the delegates were assigned based on the primary results.
Even though the primary is being held on Tuesday, the Nevada GOP will allocate its 26 delegates based on the caucus results from this Thursday, when Donald Trump competes against a lesser-known candidate (pastor Ryan Binkley). Candidates are not allowed to compete in both contests, and Nikki Haley chose long ago to run in the “beauty contest” primary rather than the caucus.
While Trump is effectively unopposed in the caucus and is certain to win, Haley could lose the beauty contest primary. Nevada’s election law prohibits write-in candidates from running for office but mandates that voters be given the choice to select “None of These Candidates” on the ballot. Even though candidates had to pick to run in the caucus or the primary, voters are free to vote in both of the events. If enough Trump supporters cast their primary vote for “None of These Candidates ” as a protest against Haley in the primary, she could lose the contest. This loss would be a serious blow to her campaign as she looks to build momentum for the South Carolina Primary on February 24th.
Trump has not pushed his supporters to vote for “None of These Candidates” over Haley in the primary, saying, “Don’t worry about the primary, just do the caucus thing” at a rally last week in Las Vegas. Republican Governor Joe Lombardo, however, endorsed Trump and said he would vote for “None of These Candidates” over Haley in the primary as well.
You can track both contests this week on DecisionDeskHQ.com. The primary polls close at 10:00 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, and the caucus commences at the same time on Thursday. Here is a link to the results page for Tuesday night’s primary.