The defeat of Haley in the Nevada primary to the option “none of these” was the result of a deliberate campaign.

Nikki Haley’s surprising loss to “none of these candidates” in the Nevada primary was the result of a coordinated effort by Trump supporters to prevent her from claiming victory. Despite being the only candidate still competing for the Republican nomination, Haley faced an uphill battle as Trump caucus captains encouraged their supporters to check the box for “none of these candidates” on the primary ballot. This tactic was used in response to the primary’s allocation of no GOP delegates, making it a symbolic gesture rather than a strategic one.

The primary results were a blow to Haley’s campaign, which had already decided not to invest resources or campaign in Nevada due to the state’s caucus contest being the only race that allocates delegates. Her campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, accused the Nevada state Republican Party of “rigging” the contest in favor of Trump and stated that Nevada was not their focus.

Other GOP contenders agreed with the Haley campaign’s assessment, with Olivia Perez-Cubas of the Haley campaign stating, “Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots, the house wins.” They chose to focus their efforts on Super Tuesday, where 11 out of 16 states have open or semi-open primaries that allow independents to participate. Haley’s campaign is targeting independent voters who have not traditionally participated in Republican primaries, such as in Massachusetts where they make up 60% of registered voters.

Despite the setback in Nevada, Haley’s campaign remains determined to stay in the race through South Carolina and Super Tuesday. However, the results could potentially raise pressure from within the party and among some allies for her to drop out. In response, Haley’s campaign has put together a team of state representatives and local leaders to mobilize voters on her behalf.  

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