Nikki Haley loses to 'none of these candidates' option in Nevada Republican primary election

The RNC wants Haley to drop out to save money.

Sulaiman Daud | February 08, 2024, 04:20 PM



Nikki Haley, who is the last serious candidate running for the Republican presidential nomination not named Donald Trump, was dealt a further blow to her chances in the Nevada primary.

On Feb. 7 (Singapore time), Republican voters in Nevada overwhelmingly selected "None of these candidates" as their choice for the party nomination. It garnered about 63 per cent of the vote, with Haley only managing about 30 per cent.

The ballot, which did not include the choice of voting for former U.S. president Donald Trump, was shorn of significance after the Republican party in Nevada decided that the primary contest would award no delegates.

This meant that neither Haley nor Trump, the front runner, bothered to spend much time campaigning for the primary. Instead, Trump will take part in the party-run caucuses on Feb. 9 (Singapore time).

For a quick explainer on primaries, caucuses, delegates and how they work in selecting a presidential party nominee, click here.

Protest vote

Trump supporters in the Silver State seized upon the primary as a way to register a protest vote against Haley, as Trump declined to even take part in the primary and have his name on the ballot.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, who publicly endorsed Trump, said he would be voting for "None of these candidates".

As the Nevada primary was essentially non-essential, the Haley campaign did not spend their limited resources in Nevada.

"We have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada,” said Betsy Ankney, Haley's campaign manager, said on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

She added the campaign was not going to pay US$55,000 (S$74,000) to a "Trump entity" to take part in a process "rigged for Trump".

The Haley campaign has been focused on the upcoming primary in South Carolina, Haley's home state and where she previously served as governor.

Losing heavily to Trump there would deal an even bigger blow to her hopes of becoming the U.S.'s first woman president.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary, President Joe Biden took 90 per cent of the vote and the state's 36 delegates.

"None of these candidates" came in second, with challenger Marianne Williamson taking the third spot with 3 per cent of the vote.

Haley urged to drop out

The Guardian reported that the Republican National Committee (RNC) wants Haley to drop her quixotic bid against Trump so as to save money, citing people familiar with the situation.

Alarm bells rang when the RNC reported its year-end filing of just US$8 million (S$11 million) heading into 2024.

Small dollar donors are likely to donate directly to the Trump campaign instead of the Republican party, demonstrating the strength of his influence over Republican voters.

However, this means Trump has a greater say over how that money is spent, such as his legal fees. NBC reported that US$27 million (S$36 million) of Trump's campaign money went to legal fees in the latter half of 2023.

The former president is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits, including allegedly illegally retaining classified documents from the government after his election loss.

Related story:

Top image from Nikki Haley's Facebook page.