Donald Trump Will Win Thursday's Nevada Caucuses by Default — Here's Why Nikki Haley Can't

Haley, who participated in the state-run primary on Tuesday instead of the party-run caucuses, was barred from receiving any delegates in Nevada

<p>Brandon Bell/Getty</p> Donald Trump

Brandon Bell/Getty

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is all but guaranteed to win Nevada's Republican caucuses on Thursday evening, adding to his recent victories in the lead-up to the November election. But unlike in other states, he'd be winning the Nevada contest practically by default.

In an unusual move, Nevada held both a state-run primary and party-run caucuses this year. While voters could participate in each, candidates had to select one.

Trump opted to participate in the caucuses, meaning he did not appear on ballots in the state's primary earlier this week. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley chose to appear on the primary ballot and, despite receiving fewer votes than "None of These Candidates," was declared the winner of that contest.

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Because the Nevada GOP oversees delegate allocation — and Republican leadership favored the caucuses over the primary — Haley is ineligible to receive any of Nevada's 26 delegates based on her primary win.

Trump won't automatically receive all of the delegates, though. Little-known candidate Ryan Brinkley is also participating in the caucuses and could siphon off one delegate for every 3.85% he earns.

<p>Tasos Katopodis/Getty </p> Nikki Haley addresses New Hampshire voters on Jan. 23, 2024

Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Nikki Haley addresses New Hampshire voters on Jan. 23, 2024

As former Biden-Harris adviser Symone Sanders-Townsend explained to PEOPLE earlier this month, Trump lobbied to change Nevada’s voting process to work in his favor, which ultimately led to the dueling caucus-primary contests this week.

"Some of the Trump campaign’s efforts include Trump spending a lot of time schmoozing with state party chairs like the chair of the Nevada Republican party who — after having dinner with Trump — made a lot of changes to the way Republicans run their nominating contest in the state," Sanders-Townsend said.

"One of those changes: This year the Nevada Republican Party is hosting a caucus, and made candidates choose between participating in their caucus or the Nevada secretary of state–run primary," she continued. "Caucuses benefit candidates with some of the most dedicated supporters — like Trump."

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Trump's expected victory in Nevada would come on the heels of his primary and caucus wins in New Hampshire and Iowa. The Virgin Islands is also holding its Republican contest on Thursday, with four delegates up for grabs.

Even after Thursday's caucuses, only 92 of 2,429 Republican delegates will have been assigned. A candidate needs to win half the total delegates to secure the party's presidential nomination.

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