Haley pushes forward after Trump’s allies in Nevada ensured her loss to ‘none of these candidates’

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley arrives at a caucus site at Franklin Junior High in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

LAS VEGAS — Even without Donald Trump on Nevada’s Republican ballot, Nikki Haley was denied her first victory.

The indignity of a distant second-place finish behind “none of these candidates” was a fresh blow for Haley, facilitated by the staunch Trump allies who lead Nevada’s GOP. They had already maneuvered to ensure Trump has a lock on the state’s 26 delegates, who will be awarded in caucuses on Thursday where he faces only token opposition.


Rarely has a none-of-the-above campaign had such muscle behind it.

Formally, the Trump campaign told supporters only to worry about Thursday, but many of his allies in state and local GOP committees made it known that they could still show support for Trump by registering their opposition to Haley.

Haley, the former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, did not campaign in Nevada, saying Trump’s allies had rigged the rules in his favor.

“At the end of the day, the disrespect that Nikki Haley showed us, she just got reciprocated,” Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald said Tuesday night.

With 86% of the expected votes counted, “none of these candidates” was leading Haley by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

Haley was pressing ahead with a West Coast fundraising swing and rally Wednesday night in Los Angeles before California’s primary on March 5, when a large number of states vote on what is known as Super Tuesday. Haley announced new campaign leadership in Massachusetts, another state with a March 5 primary.

She posted on X, formerly Twitter, about how “Republicans keep doing the same thing and getting the same result: chaos.”

“A vote for Trump is a vote for more chaos,” she added, echoing a line she routinely delivers at campaign speeches.

Nevada lawmakers added “none of these candidates” as an option in all statewide races in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal as a way for voters to participate but express dissatisfaction with their choices. “None” can’t win elected office but came in first in primary congressional contests in 1976 and 1978. It also finished ahead of both George Bush and Edward Kennedy in Nevada’s 1980 presidential primaries for their respective parties.

McDonald said it was left to each county GOP chair to decide if they wanted to promote “none of these candidates” on the ballot.

McDonald is fiercely loyal to Trump and is one of six so-called “fake electors” indicted by a Nevada grand jury for submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring him the winner of the 2020 presidential election in the state.

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