Second to ‘None’: Nikki Haley Loses Nevada Primary – the Jokes Write Themselves

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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Despite prognostications that former U.N. Ambassador, South Carolina governor, and presidential candidate Nikki Haley would pull off an easy sweep of the Nevada Presidential Preference Primary, reality reared its head — and it was ugly

Nikki Haley was swamped Tuesday in Nevada’s symbolic Republican presidential primary as GOP voters resoundingly picked the “none of these candidates” option on the ballot in a repudiation of the former U.N. ambassador who is the last remaining major rival to front-runner Donald Trump.
Trump, the former president, didn’t compete in the primary, which doesn’t award any delegates needed to win the GOP nomination. He’s instead focused on caucuses that will be held Thursday and will help him move closer to becoming the Republican standard-bearer.

There is no sugarcoating this: Instead of an embarrassment of riches, Haley has suffered riches of embarrassment. For starters, it was embarrassing that the PPP is completely symbolic and holds no path to the Republican nomination. The next phase of embarrassment is that in this symbolic nonsense, Haley came in second to “None of these candidates.” To add further insult to injury, there was a 27-plus point spread between Haley and the category! This moves the loss from complete embarrassment to absolutely brutal. 

As RedState reported, Haley didn’t even bother to campaign in Nevada leading up to the symbolic primary. Trump, on the other hand, held a rally in Las Vegas ahead of the Thursday Nevada Caucus, where 26 delegates will be won. 

That leaves the Republican results on Tuesday technically meaningless. But they still amount to an embarrassment for Haley, who has sought to position herself as a candidate who can genuinely compete against Trump. Instead, she 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.

Ever the master troller, Trump issued his “truth” on these primary results.

Thursday is the Nevada Caucus, the contest that matters for the delegates and the Republican nomination, and Trump’s name is on that ballot. Haley’s is not

Haley has vowed to stay in the Republican nominating race and on to a potential last stand in her home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24, but she has no clear path to the nomination. She trails Trump badly in South Carolina, according to opinion polls.

The next contest is February 24 for the South Carolina Primary. Despite Haley’s insistence that she is going all the way past South Carolina, she must know that what awaits her there is likely an even greater embarrassment. The most recent Real Clear Politics average for South Carolina has Trump ahead of Haley by 27 points

Haley has yet to issue a statement on the Nevada Primary results. I would suspect she is hunkered down with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and whoever is left of her donors in order to plan next steps. The smart move would be to save herself this additional embarrassment in South Carolina and pull out of the race before that primary happens. But this candidacy has not been the hallmark of smart moves or realistic expectations.

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