“The Way Nevada Will Pick the GOP Presidential Nominee Is a Mess; Dueling caucus and primary confuse voters”


In January, roughly half a million Republican voters in Nevada will receive presidential primary ballots in the mail. Former President Donald Trump’s name won’t be on them. 

The omission is part of a tussle that has ripped open the state’s Republican party and diminished the influence of Nevada in early presidential nominating contests. State GOP officials have opted to ignore the state-mandated primary and will instead host an in-person caucus in early February where Trump is expected to rack up enough delegates to win Nevada, a strategy that his opponents see as aiding the front-runner’s candidacy. 

The unorthodox nominating process has left Republican voters here frustrated and confused. The primary ballots they get in the mail will allow them to choose between former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and two candidates who have dropped out of the race: former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.). Its outcome is moot since the primary winner won’t accrue any delegates. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and several others will instead compete against Trump in the caucus since he and other candidates are forbidden from running in both contests, though voters can participate in each format. 

The result is the battleground state has squandered its chance to capitalize on its plum No. 3 spot on the nominating calendar. Unlike in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, where campaigns have large teams and candidates are constantly visiting, the top candidates besides Trump are largely ignoring Nevada and have shrunk their campaign footprints in the state.

“It just looked confusing in Nevada,” Haley, a former United Nations ambassador, said in an interview in Iowa when asked about the campaign’s decision to participate in Nevada’s primary despite not being able to earn delegates. She and DeSantis are vying to be the Trump alternative.

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