Haley Loses to ‘None,’ Biden Romps Again

News: US News
by Jim Ellis  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 7, 2024   

Nevada Republicans show up to vote against Haley

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Former President Donald Trump, at least indirectly, won a primary Tuesday without his name even appearing on the ballot.

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Nikki Haley, R-S.C.

In the Nevada Republican election, the names of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, ex-Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott were on the ballot.

There was also an option labeled "None of These Candidates," which is unique to Nevada. Pence and Scott remained on the ballot despite withdrawing from the presidential race because the candidate filing deadline was in October.

Nevada Republicans conducted what's known as a "beauty contest" primary. This type of election doesn't determine delegate allocation based on the popular vote.

Instead, a caucus system set for Thursday night plays a crucial role in delegate distribution. According to party rules, candidates had the option to participate in either the primary or the caucuses, but not both.

It is abundantly clear that the national Republican electorate favors Trump.

In the upcoming caucus, the ballot will feature only two names: Donald Trump and lesser-known candidate Ryan Binkley, making it highly likely that Trump will secure all of Nevada's 26 Republican delegates.

The significant number of votes for "None of These Candidates" in the primary bolsters this expectation, seemingly reflecting a strategic move by Trump supporters who are following the example set by Nevada's Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, who had publicly announced his intention to vote for "None of These Candidates" in the primary.

The "None of These Candidates" option is projected to win about 63% of the vote, far surpassing Nikki Haley's 31%, and is expected to lead in all 17 of Nevada's counties.

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The primary took place as a result of new Nevada election laws mandating presidential primaries for all political parties. Despite this, the Nevada Republican Party opted to maintain its traditional caucus system, leading to the organization of a preliminary "beauty contest" vote before the caucus meetings set for tomorrow.

Assessing voter turnout is challenging. It's anticipated that around 70,000 votes will be cast in Nevada's inaugural Republican presidential primary when the final count is in. To assess GOP voter enthusiasm in Nevada for the 2024 elections, these numbers need to be combined with the attendance at Thursday's caucus meetings. 

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Gov. Joe Lombardo, R-Nev.

In the Democratic primary, President Biden won a decisive victory, securing approximately 89% of the vote and outperforming both "None of These Candidates" (6%) and author Marianne Williamson (3%).

Representative Dean Phillips, D-Minn., was not listed because he declared his candidacy after the state's filing deadline had passed.

As this was also the first Democratic presidential primary in Nevada, assessing the turnout is challenging. Estimates suggest that total participation might reach up to 114,000.

This figure is in contrast to the 2022 Democratic primary, where participation exceeded 169,000 in a race that featured then-Gov. Steve Sisolak and a minor candidate. Sisolak eventually lost the general election to Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff at the time.

It's unclear how long Haley will continue her campaign since it is abundantly clear that the national Republican electorate favors Trump. The next Republican primary is set for Feb. 24 in Haley's home state of South Carolina.

With polls indicating Trump leads Haley by nearly 2 to 1, the key question is whether she will risk defeat in a state that has twice previously elected her as governor. This remains one of the most significant unresolved issues in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.

Indiana's Three House Candidates to Continue

Representative Victoria Spartz's unexpected decision to run for reelection instead of retiring hasn't deterred at least three of her challengers.

Before Spartz's return to the political scene, GOP state Rep. Chuck Goodrich was seen as the front-runner. Despite Spartz's decision, Goodrich has confirmed his intention to stay in the race, aiming to prevent Spartz from securing the Republican nomination.

It's proving to be a free-for-all race.

Additionally, former congressional aide Max Engling and businessman Raju Chinthala are persisting with their campaigns. This development sets the stage for a competitive Republican primary on May 7.

Crowded GOP Primary in North Carolina

A recent poll conducted by Diversified Research for the Mark Walker, R-N.C., campaign indicates Walker, a former member of the U.S. House, is leading his four main rivals as they gear up for the March 5 primary. Walker, who served the 6th District from 2015 until 2021 (until redistricting altered his constituency), is now aiming for a political comeback in a district that has been redesigned to favor Republicans significantly.

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Mark Walker, R-N.C. 

With the Democratic incumbent, Kathy Manning, not seeking reelection and no Democratic candidates filing to run, the March 5 Republican primary winner is expected to win the November election by default.

The new 6th Congressional District has been calculated by Dave's Redistricting App to favor Republicans.

Walker leads the field with 21% of the poll's support, followed by Bo Hines (10%), a candidate from the 2022 District 13 race; Christian Castelli (9%), the 2022 nominee for District 6; Jay Wagner (7%), the mayor of High Point; and Addison McDowell (2%), a former lobbyist with an endorsement from former President Trump.

Despite the endorsement, McDowell's support dips when voters learn of his lobbying background. None of the candidates are close to raising $1 million for their campaigns, indicating a competitive race with no clear front-runner yet.

The poll suggests Walker has a significant but not unassailable lead. If no candidate achieves more than 30% of the vote, a runoff will be necessary to determine the nominee, adding another layer of unpredictability to the race.

North Carolina Candidate Wins the Lottery

In an intriguing turn of events, Dr. Josh McConkey, a contender among 14 Republicans vying for North Carolina's new and open 13th Congressional District seat, has secured a significant boost to his campaign finances thanks to winning a lottery jackpot. With his $757,577 lottery winnings, McConkey plans to enhance voter turnout efforts for the March 5 election.

The departure from the race of incumbent Democrat Rep. Wiley Nickel, who opted instead to pursue a Senate seat in 2026, underscores the perceived unlikelihood of a Democratic victory in this newly established district.

With none of the 14 Republican candidates having held office before, it's proving to be a free-for-all race — it might not yield a clear winner who secures at least 30% of the vote. Such an outcome would necessitate a runoff election on May 14 to determine the GOP nominee.

Given the district's projected lean toward Republicans, the Republican nominee is virtually assured victory in the November elections. The sole Democratic candidate is educator and frequent contender Frank Pierce, facing steep odds in a district significantly skewed towards Republican preferences.
 

Jim Ellis, creator of The Ellis Insight website and senior political analyst for the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, analyzes and reports on U.S. electoral politics. He has a background in political consulting, managing political campaigns and action committees. Ellis is a regular speaker and media contributor on electoral topics, appearing on various radio shows and TV programs. He hosts Church Militant's The Ellis Insight — a video podcast identifying emerging campaign and election trends.

 

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