Former US President, Donald Trump has won Republican presidential nomination caucuses in Nevada and the US Virgin Islands, bringing him closer to becoming his party’s White House standard-bearer in a potential general election rematch with US President Joe Biden in November.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump easily won the US Virgin Islands caucuses, adding four to his delegate haul.
He won 182 votes, or 74% of the 246 votes cast there, beating his last remaining rival in the Republican race, Nikki Haley, who won 26% support with 64 votes.
The Nevada caucuses, organised by the Trump-friendly Nevada Republican Party, came two days after a state-run primary election, which saw a humiliating defeat for Haley.
Despite being the only major candidate on Tuesday’s Republican primary ballot, Haley was still roundly defeated after tens of thousands of Trump supporters turned out to mark their ballots with “none of these candidates,” an option which garnered 63% of the vote to Haley’s 30%.
Speaking to reporters before he left Florida for Nevada, Trump called the Colorado case “more election interference by the Democrats.”
Trump is close to winning the Republican nomination after back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire last month.
Haley, a former UN ambassador, is refusing to quit the nominating race as she vows to make a potential last stand in her home state of South Carolina, which holds a primary election on Feb. 24.
The competing Republican ballots in Nevada this week were the result of a conflict between the state Republican Party – run by Trump allies – and a 2021 state law that mandates a primary must be held.
Despite the results in Nevada having little impact on the Republican nominating contest, the state will be a hotly contested battleground because its population can swing to either party and play a significant role in November’s presidential election.
In 2020, Biden beat Trump in Nevada by 2.4 percentage points. Opinion polls show a likely rematch between Biden and Trump in the state will be close.
About 30% of Nevada’s population is self-described as Latino or Hispanic on the US Census, and Republicans are making some inroads with these voters nationwide.
Nevada also has many potential swing voters: There are 768,000 registered as “nonpartisan,” more than those registered as either Democrat or Republican, according to the latest state figures.