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First-in-the-West, the Nevada caucuses are usually a hard-fought stop on the path to the Republican presidential nomination. There will, however, be no such thrills this year. A dispute over how presidential candidates should be selected has left voters in confusion. This means that Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, the two major candidates still in the Republican race, will each compete in the state, without even appearing on the same ballot.
“It’s a very confusing mess for a lot of voters, a lot of analysts, and for pretty much anyone,” said Jon Ralston, a political commentator and the editor of the Nevada Independent. Nevada has held caucuses for decades, but after the 2020 results faced delays, Democratic lawmakers in the state passed legislation to switch the caucuses to primaries. The state Republican Party opposed the change and tried through the courts to have the primary stopped. This was unsuccessful and the party decided to hold caucuses anyway, with the winner being awarded its 26 state delegates.
Nevada Republicans will vote twice this week. On Tuesday, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will run in the state-run primary, which is mandated under the state law, but Republican front-runner Donald Trump is not on the ballot. On Thursday, Nevada Republicans will vote again in the caucuses, where former President Donald Trump is running virtually unopposed.
The Trump campaign and state party officials are concerned that there could be low turnout for the caucuses. As voters can cast ballots in both contests, Trump supporters are working to convince people to vote for “none of the above” in the primary and then attend the caucuses.
This means each candidate could win a Nevada contest and declare victory, even though people have not had the chance to choose between them.