Former President Donald Trump easily won the Nevada caucuses Thursday night, winning almost all of the votes against his lone little-known competitor.
Trump’s only opponent on the ballot was Ryan Binkley, a businessman and pastor from Texas, who has self-funded a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination for the better part of a year.
On Tuesday, Nevada held its primary election, which featured several Republican presidential candidates, including Trump’s main rival, Nikki Haley. Trump was not on the state ballot, but Haley lost out to “none of these candidates,” which voters had as an option.
Instead of the primary, Trump chose to compete in the GOP’s caucuses on Thursday.
The confusion over what is happening this year with Nevada’s two presidential primary elections — a primary Tuesday and a caucus Thursday — is widespread.
Why Nevada has a primary Tuesday and a caucus Thursday
Here’s how it happened: In 2021, in an effort to secure Nevada as first-in-the-West, the state legislature passed a bill codifying an early February state-run primary. Two years later, the state GOP announced it would go ahead with its own exclusive caucus, requiring candidates to pay $55,000 to enter and barring them if they registered for the primary ballot. Skeptics accused the party of gaming the election to favor Trump; supporters claimed the party wanted control of its own nominee-selection process.
In October, Haley, Mike Pence and others registered for the state-run primary, forfeiting any chance at winning Nevada’s delegates. Trump, Ron DeSantis and others registered for the caucus.
Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Haley’s team was downplaying the Nevada primary.
“We have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada,” said Betsy Ankeny, Haley’s campaign manager in a statement released Monday. “We aren’t going to pay $55,000 to a Trump entity to participate in a process that is rigged for Trump. Nevada is not and has never been our focus.”
On Wednesday, Haley reemphasized the point, saying the caucus was “rigged” for Trump.
“We knew months ago that we weren’t going to spend a day or a dollar in Nevada, because it wasn’t worth it,” Haley told Fox News Digital. “And so we didn’t even count Nevada. That wasn’t anything we were looking at.”