Nevada [US]: In a decisive triumph, former President Donald J Trump clinched victory in Nevada's Republican caucuses, a result largely expected given his uncontested status as the sole major candidate on the ballot, The New York Times (NYT) reported.
Trump was declared the winner following the closure of caucus sites, marking his fourth consecutive success in the Republican nominating contests this year.
Even as the race lacked the usual suspense due to Trump's dominant presence, his win in Nevada appeared almost predetermined. Notably, his primary rival, Nikki Haley, had chosen to forgo the caucuses months ago, participating instead in a primary election on Tuesday as mandated by state law. However, the results of that election showcased a significant preference for "None of These Candidates" over Haley, underscoring a clear rejection by Republican voters, the NYT report added.
Despite her victory in the primary, Haley's underwhelming performance raised questions about the impact of her candidature. The Nevada Republican Party, led by a staunch Trump ally, had decided to allocate presidential delegates solely based on the caucuses, sidelining the primary results.
Trump's symbolic triumph on Tuesday aligns with the strategic push by his supporters in Nevada, demonstrating his continued influence among Republicans in the state. This victory, though expected, remains a crucial acquisition, allowing Trump to accumulate delegates and build momentum as attention shifts to the upcoming South Carolina primary on February 24, where he faces another challenge from Haley.
The day unfolded with additional wins for Trump, including the US Virgin Islands caucuses, where he secured an overwhelming 73 percent of the vote, overshadowing Haley once again. Throughout, Trump's campaign urged Haley to exit the race, citing his rising delegate count and commanding lead in polls as evidence of her diminishing chances, according to NYT.
Trump, during a news conference at Mar-a-Lago, expressed bewilderment over Haley's persistence in the race, asserting that it hurts both the party and the country. The ongoing campaign, according to Trump's team, diverts valuable time and resources that could be better utilised against President Biden, who faces minimal opposition in the Democratic primary.
Despite the limited number of campaign events in Nevada, Trump's focus remained on November, positioning the state as a battleground. He utilised his speeches to galvanise grassroots support and test messaging aimed at challenging Democrats' traditional base, particularly the union workforce and Hispanic voters.
While Trump's attention on issues like immigration and economic achievements appealed to his base, making inroads with Hispanic and Black Americans remains crucial for a potential electoral turnaround in Nevada. Nevertheless, Trump's enduring popularity among Nevada Republicans, coupled with his past victories in the state, bodes well for his electoral prospects.
The chairman of Nevada's Republican Party, Michael J McDonald, a fervent Trump ally, faced accusations that the caucus setup favoured Trump. His close ties to Trump and past involvement in baseless claims of voter fraud added to the controversy surrounding the caucus organisation.
The Nevada caucuses, marred by allegations of bias and controversies, culminated in Trump's expected triumph, solidifying his position as a formidable force within the Republican Party as the focus now shifts to future primary battles, the NYT reported.