Jim Hartman: Reviewing Nevada’s Presidential Primary/Caucus results

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

The Nevada Presidential Primary and GOP Caucus are history with final unofficial results.

Voter turnout numbers show 135,000 Democrats cast ballots in the Democratic primary. That represents 22.6% of the state’s 597,000 registered Democrats.

Among Republicans, 80,000 ballots were cast in the state-run presidential primary, representing 14.2% of Nevada’s 560,000 registered GOP voters. That’s more than the 60,000 Republicans, 10.7% of those registered, who voted in the party-run caucus.

A confusing dueling primary and caucus rendered the GOP primary meaningless when party leaders decided only caucus results would determine allotment of the state’s 26 delegates, a move meant to benefit former President Donald Trump.

The Nevada GOP banned candidates whose names appeared on the primary ballot from participating in the caucus. As a result, Trump’s name did not appear on the primary ballot, confounding GOP voters.

The runaway primary winner among Democrats was President Joe Biden with 116,806 votes, over 89% of the total.

Trump was the near-unanimous choice (over 99%) of GOP caucus participants, receiving 59,984 votes against a political unknown.

The state-run GOP primary featured Nikki Haley, a half dozen other candidates (but not Trump), and the option “none of these candidates.”

Voter participation in the primary and caucus was legal. Nevada Republican Party officials encouraged Trump supporters to select “none of these candidates” to defeat Haley since the former president’s name did not appear on the primary ballot.

Haley lost to “none of these candidates” by over 30%, receiving 23,795 primary votes. She technically won the primary – state election law says “only votes cast for the named candidates shall be counted” – but she was embarrassed by the outcome.

“Trump had it rigged from the very beginning,” Haley said.

Trump bragged that turnout for the GOP caucus Feb. 8 (60,000 voters) eclipsed the record Republican caucus turnout in 2016 of 75,000 voters. That was untrue. And, the last Democratic caucus in 2020 had 105,000 voters turnout.

Even though more than twice as many Democrats turned out for their primary (135,000) than Republicans turned out for their caucus (60,000), it’s clear enthusiasm for Trump among Republicans is far greater than for Biden among Democrats.

Thousands of Republicans stood in long lines for up to two hours to cast their caucus vote for Trump who was running essentially unopposed in an election rigged in his favor by the Nevada GOP.

Trump’s devoted supporters were “prepared to walk a mile for a Camel” in his behalf on a cold blustery night.

But only hard-core Trump supporters turned out. His 59,984 votes represents only 10.7% of Nevada’s registered Republicans – exactly as the Nevada GOP intended.

It was also “Caucus Chaos” with the state party unprepared for the turnout.

There were reportedly not enough caucus sites or volunteers to conduct the election. There was confusion about where to vote or how – or even why, since it was a done deal. There were complaints of long lines, sites running out of ballots and disorganization.

By contrast, very few problems were reported with the presidential primary across the state.

This year primary voters in both parties participated in record numbers compared to caucuses held in prior years.

More Republicans chose to cast ballots in the state-run presidential primary this year (80,000 voters) than participated in the party-run caucus (60,000 voters), according to turnout numbers.

Among Democrats, they saw record levels of participation in their uncompetitive primary (135,000 voters) compared to their last competitive caucus in 2020 (105,000 voters).

The vast majority of primary voters cast their ballots by mail: 75% of Republicans and 80% of Democrats. Only 22% voted in person – by Early Voting or on Election Day.

Primary and caucus turnout results this year are evidence Nevada voters prefer primaries. They are much more accessible to the general public.

E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment