The former U.N. ambassador, aiming to emerge as a contender against Trump, did not campaign in Nevada, stating her intention to “concentrate on states that are fair.”
Nikki Haley was overwhelmingly defeated in Nevada’s symbolic Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, as voters predominantly chose the “none of these candidates” option on the ballot.
The result signals a strong rebuke of the former U.N. ambassador, who stands as the last remaining major rival to front-runner Donald Trump.
Trump skipped the primary that does not allocate any delegates necessary for securing the GOP nomination. The former president is concentrating on the caucuses scheduled for Thursday, which will aid in his effort to become the Republican nominee.
That leaves the results of Tuesday as technically meaningless in the Republican race. However, it represents a significant setback for Haley, who has aimed to present herself as a viable contender 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.
Haley had said beforehand she was going to “focus on the states that are fair” and did not campaign in the western state in the weeks leading up to the caucuses. Her campaign wrote off the results with a reference to Nevada’s famous casino industry.
“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots the house wins,” spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said. “We didn’t bother to play a game rigged for Trump. We’re full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond.”
Trump joked on his social media network, “Watch, she’ll soon claim Victory!”
Nevada legislators introduced the “none of these candidates” option in all statewide races to allow voters to take part in elections while expressing dissatisfaction with the available choices.