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Nikki Haley: Second to “None”

(Chuck Muth) – Back in a December 5, 2023, Muth’s Truths column – two months ago – I wrote…

“So she’s (Nikki Haley) going to win the primary even though she won’t get any convention delegates – unless ‘None of the Above’ ends up coming in first.  Which is a real possibility.”

Well, as you surely already know, Nikki Haley lost the Nevada Presidential Preference Primary to “None of These Candidates” last night. As it stands right now – with late mail-in ballots still to be counted – Haley lost 63-31%.

Trump supporters, naturally, are doing the Snoopy Dance.  Truly an embarrassment for the former South Carolina governor who’s preparing to compete vs. Trump in her home state in two weeks.

But this was also a major embarrassment for the Nevada Republican Party. And there could still be more egg-on-the-face to come.

The biggest problem facing Nevada Republicans isn’t voter registration, it’s voter turnout.  Remember, Republicans lost a U.S. Senate seat in 2022 by fewer than 8,000 votes while over 175,000 Republicans stayed home and didn’t cast a ballot.

Going into the 2024 presidential primary election, there were 560,000 registered Republicans in the state.  Fewer than 43,000 of them cast a ballot in the primary. That’s just 8%.

By contrast, in 1996 – the last time the Nevada Republican Party did a mail-in ballot for the presidential preference primary – there were 289,819 registered Republicans and 143,041 of them voted…a turnout of 49%.

So some 100,000 more Republicans voted in the last mail-in presidential primary than this one – with a quarter million more registered GOP voters.

Yes, I understand that many Trump supporters stayed home and did not cast a ballot in the primary after Trump told them a week ago…

“Don’t vote (in the primary) that’s two days earlier (than the caucus).  Don’t use the mail-in ballots.  Don’t do anything.”

But as embarrassing as it was for Haley to lose to “None,” there’s still the possibility that so few Republicans will participate in the caucus tomorrow night that the number of votes for “None of These Candidates” last night (42,500 and counting) might still be more than Trump will get in the caucus tomorrow night.

How embarrassing would THAT be?

It’s hard to imagine that fewer than 50,000 Republicans will participate in the caucus – turnout for the 2016 caucus was 75,000 – but knowing the caucus is a done deal for Trump, many will likely just stay home and do their hair or wash their socks.

And then there are lingering questions as to whether the party can even pull off its caucus without any major hitches – like they’ve had in the past – tomorrow night.

In fact, yesterday – just two days before the caucus – the Clark County Republican Party issued an announcement updating the caucus locations for 22 precincts. This is not a well-oiled political machine.

And Team Trump reportedly knows it.

The Las Vegas Sun noted this morning that “Senior advisers to Trump are unhappy with the campaign’s Nevada state director, Alida Benson, after learning that caucus planning was not coming along ‘as well as they liked,’ two sources told Axios.”

According to Axios, “when it became clear that Nevada’s GOP and the party in Clark County were not well-equipped to run the caucuses, the campaign blamed Benson for not activating volunteers, and dragging the (Trump) campaign into a chaotic process.”

Benson was the Nevada GOP’s executive director until last summer when she moved over to the Trump campaign.  But, nah, no caucus rigging for Trump.

This whole mess was an unforced error by the Nevada Republican Party.

If the party hadn’t banned candidates from participating in BOTH the primary and the caucus, turnout would have been higher and Trump would have won both handily.  Instead Nevada Republicans are a national embarrassment.

In semi-related news, it was reported yesterday that Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is preparing to resign after Super Tuesday.

Considering the fact that Nevada Republicans have lost FOUR consecutive election cycles in a row under the leadership of Chairman Michael McDonald – combined with the disaster of the “Chaos Caucus” – Nevada Republicans would benefit greatly if he made a graceful exit with McDaniel.

There’s still time for the party to get its act together before the main event in November.

But don’t hold your breath.  It’s fun to fly on Air Force One and hang out at Mar-a-Lago.  So even dynamite won’t blast McDonald out of the captain’s chair.  He’s likely to be there as long as Trump is in the picture – unless Trump himself kicks him out.


As for Haley, stick a fork in her. She’s done.

Barring some cataclysmic event, it’s gonna be Trump vs. Kamala in November – since everyone knows Biden will never make it through another four-year term.  That’s what’s at stake – unless Democrats give Biden the ol’ Leon Klinghoffer treatment at their national convention this summer.

All I know is that “None of the Above” won’t be winning Nevada in November. Whether Trump wins or not will depend on how well the Nevada GOP gets out its vote.

Looking at how it botched the presidential primary, I’m not optimistic.


“Non-delegate-awarding primaries are often called ‘beauty contests.’ If that’s what this was, Haley’s performance was plug-ugly.” – Ed Kilgore, The Intelligencer, 2/7/24

“Gov. Joe Lombardo, Nevada’s Republican chief executive, endorsed Trump and publicly indicated his intent to cast his ballot for ‘None of these candidates.’ A significant number of Trump supporters appear to have followed the governor’s lead.” – Associated Press, 2/7/24

“The dueling elections have also caused frustration and confusion among Republicans, including leading state officials and voters — many of whom remained confused Tuesday as to why Trump was not on the primary ballot.” – Nevada Independent, 2/6/24

“Rudy Roybal, 43, was disappointed to learn that former President Donald Trump was not on Tuesday’s ballot and said he decided not to vote.” – Nevada Independent, 2/6/24

“I came out to vote for the primary thinking that the primary was going to include the Republican Party nominees. And the one Republican Party nominee that’s excluded from the state of Nevada is Donald Trump.  This is the first time I’ve ever been denied the right to vote.” – Clark County voter yesterday, Nevada Current, 2/6/24

“Trump’s supporters will follow that man through the gates of hell.” – Chuck Muth, Politico, 2/7/24

Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of  You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at  His views are his own.


This blog/website is written and paid for by…me, Chuck Muth, a United States citizen. I publish my opinions under the rights afforded me by the Creator and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as adopted by our Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania without registering with any government agency or filling out any freaking reports. And anyone who doesn’t like it can take it up with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams the next time you run into each other.

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