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Why Trump keeps claiming he already won the Nevada primary

He's not wrong.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Jan 25, 2024

In advance of the Nevada primary election, former President Donald Trump is breaking out one of his favorite strategies: Declaring himself the winner before votes are finished being counted.

Or in this case, before voting has even started.

“WE JUST WON NEVADA!” Trump recently posted on Truth Social, nearly two weeks before the state’s election.

The Nevada caucus and primary election, two separate events, have not yet happened. The Republican presidential primary election will occur on Feb. 6, while the caucus is set for Feb. 8. But Trump’s premature celebration is not far off.

Haley is competing in the presidential preference primary, which was put into place by Nevada’s state legislature in 2021 and run by the state.

However, Nevada’s state Republican party—which Politico reported is “led by Trump loyalists”—decided that it would only award its delegates via caucus.

Trump and Haley are not competing against each other in the contests. She will be listed on the primary ballot sans Trump, and Trump is the only candidate competing in the Nevada caucus.

So, even though no votes have been cast, he will most likely win the Nevada caucus and the state’s delegates.

The presidential preference primary law was enacted in response to the chaos of Nevada’s 2020 caucus. That year, the results of the Democratic caucus weren’t made public for more than a day after the vote—leading both current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and President Joe Biden to claim they had won second place in the state.

To prevent the same sort of confusion in 2024, Nevada Democrats pushed for the primary process in future elections. And though voters can both fill out a primary ballot and caucus for their favorite candidate, candidates were required to either participate in the primary or the caucus—not both.

Accordingly, Trump is participating in the Nevada Republicans party-run caucus uncontested, meaning he will receive the state’s delegates if he wins. Haley, on the other hand, is participating in the state-run primary against Republican candidates who have dropped out of the race, like former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Winning the primary could award Haley with a “symbolic victory,” but not any delegates.

So coming off his win in the New Hampshire primary elections Tuesday, Trump posted on Truth Social multiple times saying the Nevada race was over.

The sentiment was echoed by Trump’s team.

“See Y’all in South Carolina !!! Because we already won Nevada !” wrote his campaign manager Chris LaCivita.

Trump also claimed that Haley “didn’t want to play,” i.e. participate in the caucus, “because of her bad Polling.” Haley chose the Nevada state primary over the caucus in October 2023, not as a result of her second-place finish in New Hampshire.

Haley seems to understand that putting effort into campaigning in Nevada won’t get her anywhere. She went straight from New Hampshire to her home state of South Carolina.

As of today, Trump is also far ahead of Haley in the polls for South Carolina, which some see as her last opportunity to gain traction in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination.

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2024, 11:13 am CST