Indian-American Nikki Haley trounced by 'none of these candidates' option in Nevada Republican primary

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Washington, Feb 7 (PTI) Indian-American presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has suffered an embarrassing defeat in Nevada's nonbinding Republican primary to "none of these candidates," in a contest that did not feature former US president and front-runner Donald Trump on the ballot.

The primary carried little weight, because state Republicans opted to award their delegates through party-run caucuses, which Trump is expected to win on Thursday. The party barred those participating in the primary, including Haley, from being eligible for the caucuses, which means Trump, 77, will face little competition.

Still, the outcome in Nevada is an ignominious one for 52-year-old Haley, who is seeking to prove to Republican donors and voters that she remains a viable contender ahead of her next head-to-head contest with Trump in the February 24 South Carolina primary, CNN reported.

With 86 per cent of precincts reported, "None" had 63 per cent of Tuesday's primary votes and Haley had 31 per cent, US media reported on Wednesday.Haley became the first presidential candidate from either party to lose a race to “none of these candidates” since that option was introduced in Nevada in 1975, the Associated Press reported.

  Trump was not on the ballot in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary in the early voting state of Nevada. But his absence wasn't enough to help secure a victory for his last remaining major rival for the 2024 GOP nomination – Haley, Fox News reported.All the state's 26 delegates that contribute to the nomination are up for grabs in the caucuses on Thursday.

Trump supporters Fox News spoke with at polling stations said they were casting a ballot for "none of these candidates." Haley, the former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration had ignored the Nevada primary.

She did not campaign in Nevada ahead of the primary.

"In terms of Nevada, we have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada," Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney told reporters on Monday. "So Nevada is not and has never been our focus." But Trump took to his Truth Social network to take aim at Haley.

"A bad night for Nikki Haley. Losing by almost 30 points in Nevada to "None of These Candidates." Watch, she’ll soon claim Victory!" he wrote.

Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita pointed towards South Carolina, Haley's home state, which holds the next major contest in the Republican nominating calendar on February 24.

"More embarrassment coming in South Carolina …the @NikkiHaley Delusional Tour continues,' LaCivita wrote in a social media post.

“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots the house wins. We didn’t bother to play a game rigged for Trump. We’re full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond,” Haley campaign spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement to CNN.

 Haley was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa in South Carolina to immigrant Sikh parents from Amritsar, Punjab.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side in Nevada, President Joe Biden will win the state’s presidential primary, the US media reported, adding delegates from the first-in-the-West contest as he marches toward his party’s 2024 nomination.

For 81-year-old Biden, Tuesday’s primary win comes three days after he notched his first official victory of the 2024 nominating race in the South Carolina primary.

The 2024 United States presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, 2024. The Republican nominee, almost certain to be Trump, will probably face President Biden in the presidential election, which will be a rematch of the 2020 polls. PTI AKJ AKJ AKJ