RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s dueling contests of presidential nominees have split the field of Republican contenders, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opting to compete against former President Donald Trump in the caucus run by the state GOP while three major rivals face off instead in the early state-run primary.
Though DeSantis’ supporters were among those warning that the Nevada Republican Party had created rules that tilted the process in favor of Trump, the Floridian announced Sunday he would run in the Feb. 8 caucus and try to win delegates that help a candidate become a nominee.
Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley on Monday filed as a candidate for the Feb. 6 primary, run by the state. The primary offers an opportunity to prove electability, at least symbolically, before crucial contests in South Carolina and a slate of primaries on Super Tuesday.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott on Friday also filed for the primary.
Nevada holds a prominent place in the 2024 nominating contests as the third state to weigh in on the GOP field next year.
The Nevada GOP says it will only award delegates to the Republican national convention based on the results of its caucuses. The party has also barred candidates from participating in the caucuses if they also run in the primary election.
Andrew Romeo, the communications director for the DeSantis campaign, said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the governor is committed to “earning every single delegate available as he works to earn the Republican nomination for president, and Nevada is no exception.”
“It is disappointing that the Nevada Republican Party changed the rules against the will of the people just to benefit one candidate,” Romeo said. “Hfowever, Ron DeSantis will fight to overcome these tactics, just like he will stop the Democrats’ attempts to bend the rules in their favor in November 2024 when he challenges, and ultimately defeats, Joe Biden — something Republicans failed to do in 2020.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Republican businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum are among the other GOP candidates who filed earlier to participate in the caucus along with Trump.
President Joe Biden and eight others, including self-help author Marianne Williamson, have filed to run in the Democratic presidential preference primary Feb. 6 in Nevada.
The Associated Press