Caucus was effectively one-horse race after Haley dropped out citing what she considered an unfair process favouring Trump.
Former President Donald Trump secured victory in Nevada’s Republican caucuses Thursday night, winning his third consecutive state in his bid to become the party’s candidate for November’s presidential election.
His biggest rival in the race, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, skipped the caucuses even though they are the only contest in Nevada that counts toward the Republican nomination.
She considered that the process unfairly favoured Trump and ran instead in Nevada’s symbolic state-run presidential primary on Tuesday, when she finished behind the “none of these candidates” option.
Trump will win most, if not all, of the state’s 26 delegates. He needs to accrue 1,215 delegates to formally clinch the party’s nomination and could reach that number in March.
Trump’s next stop will be the South Carolina primary, as he sets out to battle Haley on her own turf, on February 24.
He remains popular in the deeply conservative state but Haley, who won two elections as South Carolina’s governor, is hoping her local roots give her an edge.
“We’re leading everybody”
During his victory speech in Las Vegas on Thursday, Trump told reporters he was eager to clinch a win in the upcoming South Carolina primary.
“We’re leading everybody,” he said. “Is there any way we can call the election for next Tuesday? That’s all I want.”
Though Trump had been the frontrunner, Nevada’s caucuses were seen as especially skewed in his favour due to the intense grassroots support caucuses require candidates to harness around a state in order to win.
Trump’s supporters waited in long lines Thursday. At one caucus site at a Reno-area elementary school, a line of nearly 1,000 people stretched around the corner and down the street 20 minutes after the caucuses opened.
Voters in line, some of whom were wearing Trump hats and shirts, said they came out to back the former president in a contest that would give him a third straight win in the Republican presidential race.
“I think it’s about backing Trump up and giving him the support that he needs. And to let people know that we’re supporting him,” said Heather Kirkwood, 47.
Republicans are increasingly converging behind Trump while he faces a deluge of legal problems, including 91 criminal charges in four separate cases.
He faces accusations of holding classified documents at his Florida estate, and of obstructing justice.