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When will it happen? What’s on the line?

The Unusual Republican Nominating Fight in Nevada

Two Different Contests

This week, the Republican nominating fight between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley takes place in Nevada. However, due to legal disputes and political maneuverings, there are actually two contests. Haley is on one ballot on Tuesday, while Trump is on a different one on Thursday.

Trump’s Almost Certain Victory

Former President Trump has almost clinched the nomination after victories in nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Haley, with no clear path to the nomination, is aiming to make a potential last stand in her home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24.

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The Anomaly of the Nevada Race

There are two separate contests in Nevada, with Haley on the state-run primary ballot on Feb. 6 and Trump on the caucus ballot organized by the Trump-friendly Nevada Republican Party on Feb. 8. Even if Haley wins the primary on Feb. 6, it will be an empty victory, as only candidates competing in the party-run caucus on Feb. 8 can compete for the state’s 26 delegates to the Republican National Convention in July.

Why Two Contests?

The competing ballots are the result of a conflict between the state Republican Party and a 2021 state law that mandates a primary must be held. Nevada has long held caucuses to choose presidential candidates, but after issues with the 2020 caucuses, the state legislature passed a law switching its voting system to a more straightforward primary vote.

Nevada’s Unfortunate Situation

Nevada got what it wanted by becoming third in line in the nominating process, but it’s an empty prize. Haley is not campaigning there, Trump has made only one recent visit, and the national media are all but ignoring a contest the state Republican Party sewed up in Trump’s favor months ago.

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The Backstory of the Competing Ballots

The Trump-friendly Nevada Republican Party decided to stick with a caucus on Feb. 8, viewing it as helping Trump due to his superior ground game in the state. They also ruled that any candidate participating in the primary on Feb. 6 would be barred from participating in the caucus, and thus could not compete for any of the state’s 26 delegates.

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