Nevada holds its presidential primaries — but Trump isn’t on the ballot

By Eric Bradner, CNN

CNN  — 

President Joe Biden is poised to win delegates in the Nevada presidential primary Tuesday as he marches toward the Democratic nomination. But former President Donald Trump will have to wait until Thursday, when the state Republican Party holds its caucuses.

While there will be a GOP primary Tuesday, Republicans have chosen to award their delegates via the caucuses, and the dueling contests have caused some confusion among Nevada voters.

What’s clear, though, is that Biden and Trump face only nominal opposition, and both are expected to end the week winners of Nevada delegates to their parties’ nominating conventions.

For Biden, Tuesday’s Silver State primary comes three days after he notched his first official victory of the 2024 nominating race in the South Carolina primary.

Nevada’s first-in-the-West contest is now second on the Democratic calendar after the party demoted Iowa and New Hampshire — a change meant to ensure a diverse electorate weighs in at the start of Democrats’ presidential nominating battle.

On the Democratic primary ballot, Biden faces nominal opposition from a dozen candidates, including author Marianne Williamson. Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, the president’s other best-known Democratic challenger, is not on the ballot, having entered the race after the state’s October 16 filing deadline had passed.

Biden spent Sunday in Las Vegas, where he told a rally crowd that they will “make Donald Trump a loser again.”

He also touted his administration’s economic efforts, saying that he knows “we have a lot more to do” in a preview of how he could talk about a still-reeling economy during the general election.

“Not everyone’s feeling the benefits from our investments and progress yet, but inflation is now lower in America than any other major economy in the world,” Biden said.

Republicans, meanwhile, are ignoring the outcome of Tuesday’s primary — one taking place without Trump on the ballot. Instead, the state GOP opted to award its delegates to the winner of party-run caucuses being held Thursday evening.

The fractured process is the result of a 2021 state law that scrapped Nevada’s presidential caucuses in favor of government-run primaries. Advocates said the move would be less cumbersome to run and less confusing for voters.

However, the Nevada Republican Party — which is led by Trump loyalists — opted to hold caucuses this year anyway and award the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention based on those results. It also warned candidates who participated in the primary that they would not be eligible for the caucuses or to receive any delegates.

Still, some Republican presidential contenders, including former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, filed to run in the primary. Trump is now the last remaining major contender in Thursday’s caucuses, which effectively guarantees his victory.

“In your state, you have both a primary and you have a caucus. Don’t worry about the primary, just do the caucus thing,” Trump told attendees at a recent Las Vegas rally.

CNN’s Donald Judd, Priscilla Alvarez and Ethan Cohen contributed to this report.

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