Nevada's Weird Voting Loophole Will Benefit Trump

State will have a GOP primary and a caucus this week, but only the latter counts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2024 7:43 AM CST
Nevada Has Some Seriously Confusing Voting This Week
Voters cast their ballots in the Nevada primary election in Reno in 2022. The Nevada presidential primary will take place Tuesday, but the state Republican Party has decided to hold caucuses on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes, File)

The next round of voting in the 2024 primaries takes place in Nevada this week. But it's a strange stew of primaries and caucuses, even if the big-picture outcome is not in doubt:

  • Meaningless primary: The state is holding a GOP primary Tuesday, but it will not count for the nomination in terms of delegates, reports the AP. Nikki Haley is running, but Donald Trump is not on the ballot.
  • Meaningful caucus: The state also is holding Republican caucuses on Thursday, and those will count. Trump is the only major candidate participating, and he is therefore expected to receive all 26 of the state's GOP delegates.
  • The loophole at play: If the above two things sound confusing, the Washington Post explains: A new state law requires a primary when more than one candidate is running, but there's a loophole: "There has to be a primary, but the law doesn't say how the party allocates their delegates," UNLV professor Rebeca Gill tells the Post. The state GOP, under heavy lobbying by the Trump campaign, exploited the loophole to stage the caucuses as well. And yes, many voters are bewildered, as NPR reports.

  • Democrats: The state also has a Democratic primary on Tuesday, and President Biden is expected to win easily. Marianne Williamson is on the ballot, but Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota is not.
  • Trump's strategy: He is trying to accrue the necessary 1,215 delegates to clinch the nomination as early as possible, and he is on track to do so in March by the AP's math.
(More Nevada caucus stories.)

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