Hours after the Nevada GOP central committee members convened this weekend in Winnemucca and voted to approve a presidential caucus on February 8, 2024, former President Donald Trump confirmed his participation in the caucus. Weeks prior, GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy paid $55,000 to participate.
Despite push back from some Nevada Republicans, the caucus received overwhelming support of the Central Committee with Chairman Michael McDonald referring to the deliberations as “very spirited.”
The caucus will be held on February 8, two days after the February 6, 2024, state-run presidential primary election. Nevada Republicans have participated in caucus primaries since 1980 and maintain that it is the purest form of voter participation and election integrity as the caucus will require identification to vote and will release the results from each precinct that evening– as opposed to a state-run presidential primary which is estimated to cost $5 million and will include universal mail balloting and delayed election results.
Chairman McDonald told The Globe that Senator Tim Scott (SC), Governor Doug Burgam (ND) and Larry Elder have also expressed interest in participating in the caucus and have asked about the process and related wiring instructions. The caucus fee is $55,000. The fee is reduced to $35,000 if the candidate agrees to do an event with the Nevada GOP.
“The Republicans have spoken. We are holding a caucus. Everyone can be involved. To waste $5 million of taxpayer dollars on a non-binding primary is a joke,” Chariman McDonald told The Globe. “The one thing that the caucus provides us is an opportunity to put the candidates in front of the people and the voting public. The caucus is a grass roots opportunity for candidates to interface with all 17 counties and get their message out. The caucus is one day, but the candidates have five months to reach out to Republican voters throughout the state. The candidates who are serious about running for president will be on the caucus ballot, that I can guarantee you,” Chairman McDonald added.
Weeks ago, Florida Governor Ron Desantis’ PAC pulled out of door knocking operations in Nevada and accused Chairman McDonald of being a “Trump puppet” and critics of the caucus has claimed that the NVGOP is rigging the primary for President Trump. The NV GOP maintains that the caucus cannot be rigged and provides months of opportunity for Republican presidential candidates to spend time in the swing state and personally engage with the voters. Chairman McDonald told The Globe, “The consultants are likely disappointed, but the caucus is what is best for the voters.”
"Dollar for dollar, your ability to reach out to new voters is so much better in Nevada than in Iowa or New Hampshire. But they’re rigging the system for Trump, so it’s stupid for any (other candidates) to be here.”https://t.co/3UTomUTA4e
— Chuck Muth (@ChuckMuth) September 25, 2023
In a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Precincts will nominate delegates, and in May, Republicans at the state convention will elect national delegates who will go to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee the following month.
Members also voted for a resolution that will bar super political action committees from participating in the caucus because the party’s attorneys are cautious about super PACs and the use of dark money, McDonald said.”
“When Democrats in the legislature ignored Governor Joe Lombardo’s election integrity proposals and didn’t even grant a hearing for Voter ID, which a majority of Nevadans support, our grassroots leaders and activists wanted to continue with the caucus,” Chairman McDonald told The Globe.
Prior to the passage of AB126 in 2021, Nevada’s major political parties used caucuses for choosing and binding delegates to the national convention and nominating presidential candidates. After 105,000 Democrats voted in the 2020 caucuses, Bernie Sanders dominated the Democratic field, despite predictions of chaos, and his delegates overthrew the Harry Reid political power structure. After this shift in political power, legislation to prevent such political upheaval and caucus-related “chaos” was born.
At the time, Harry Reid told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “My No. 1 priority is getting rid of the caucuses. They don’t work. It was proven in Iowa. We did OK here, but the system is so unfair.”
The presidential candidates who appear on the caucus ballot cannot appear on the primary ballot. Candidates will be able to file for the caucus from Sept. 1. to Oct. 15.
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