Despite being the only currently running major candidate in the official state-run Republican presidential primary in Nevada, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lost to the option “None of These Candidates.”
While Nevada law now requires the state to hold a primary, it does not require the political party to allocate delegates based on the results of the state-run primary.
As a result, Nevada’s Republican Party is holding a caucus to decide how to allocate its 26 delegates. Importantly, if a candidate chooses to participate in the state-run primary, the Nevada GOP has stated that they will not be allowed to also caucus on February 8.
For unknown reasons, Haley agreed to participate in the state-run primary in 2023, despite the fact that she would not receive any delegates. Haley was the sole major candidate on the Nevada primary ballot, as the leading Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump, is already registered for the caucuses. Her name will, therefore, not appear on the caucus ballot.
However, Haley was not alone in the primaries. Several candidates who have since ended their campaigns appeared on the ballot, as well as a “None of These Candidates” option, which received more votes Tuesday night.
Haley, as the top vote-getter in the primary, will still be considered the “winner,” despite the fact that there are no clear benefits, let alone delegates.
In 2020, after finishing third in the state’s caucus, then-Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg complained to state officials about inconsistencies in how the votes were counted. After receiving his complaint, the Nevada legislature changed the rules governing primaries to require that the state, rather than the Republican or Democratic Parties, run them.
According to NBC’s Steve Kornacki, the “None of These Candidates” option has been on Nevada ballots since 1975 but has only received about 2.5% support in general presidential elections.