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Nikki Haley loses Nevada primary to ‘none of these candidates’ option


Nikki Haley suffered an embarrassing loss in the largely symbolic Republican Nevada presidential primary on Tuesday, while President Joe Biden secured an easy victory in the state’s Democratic vote.
No delegates were at stake in the Republican primary and Haley didn’t campaign in Nevada, contending the dynamics gave former President Donald Trump an advantage. Nevertheless the optics of her coming in second place to “none of these candidates” represents the latest blow to her longshot challenge to Trump for the nomination. Biden won days after campaigning in the general election battleground state.
“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots the house wins,” Haley spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said when asked about the result. “We didn’t bother to play a game rigged for Trump. We’re full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond.”
Haley’s next contest with Trump occurs on February 24 in South Carolina, where she was once the governor. Polls have put him far out in front.
Early Wednesday, with 64% of the Nevada Democratic vote counted, Biden had 90% to 5.7% to “none of these candidates” followed by self-help author Marianne Williamson, at 2.5%, the Associated Press reported. And with 53.5% of the Republican vote counted, Haley had 32.4% to 61.2% for “none of these candidates,” according to the AP.
Biden’s victory came just three days after he delivered a commanding win in South Carolina’s primary, the first official contest of the Democratic process — securing over 96% of the vote there. Biden’s longshot challenger for the nomination, US Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who finished third in South Carolina, did not appear on the Nevada ballot.
“I want to thank the voters of Nevada for sending me and Kamala Harris to the White House four years ago, and for setting us one step further on that same path again tonight,” Biden said in a statement from his campaign. “We must organize, mobilize, and vote.”
Trump did not contest the Republican primary as he will partake in the party’s caucus on Thursday, where he is the only major candidate running in that contest and is slated to receive all of the state’s delegates.
Legislators authorized a state-run primary but Nevada GOP leaders decided to hold their own caucuses to award delegates, an unusual arrangement that sparked criticism the party was giving Trump an unfair edge.
Biden held a rally in Las Vegas’s west side on Sunday in a historically Black neighborhood, focusing his attention on Trump, who is close to clinching the GOP nomination, ahead of an expected rematch. Biden touted his economic agenda and the gains he said Black and Latino voters have enjoyed under his administration, saying those advances were threatened if Trump returned to the White House.
On Monday, Biden met with members of the Culinary Workers Union after the group reached deals with or secured extended negotiations with downtown Las Vegas casinos and hotels, averting a threatened strike.
In the 2020 general election, Biden won Nevada aided by support among Hispanic voters — the state’s largest non-White voting group — and 80% of the Black vote. A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll released last week, however, found Biden trailing Trump in the state by 48% to 40% in a hypothetical rematch.

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