Three states into this primary season now, and the race for the Republican presidential nomination rumbles on. Today, Nevada is up for grabs. Here’s what to watch for as Silver State Republicans head out to caucus.
There are 30 delegates up for grabs in Nevada; a candidate needs a total of 1,237 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination.
Like the Democratic caucus, the Nevada Republican caucus is organized by the party itself rather than the state. The caucus is closed, meaning only voters registered as Republicans can participate today. There is no election day registration.
Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, has dropped out of the race since last Saturday’s South Carolina primary.
New York businessman Donald Trump currently leads the Republican race with 67 delegates. There is no denying that Trump is in control of the Republican race right now after he managed to win every delegate in South Carolina. Nevada presents a bit of a twist for Trump, however, with its large Hispanic population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27.8 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic or Latino. This is the largest Hispanic population we’ve seen so far, and while Hispanic’s tend to register as Democrats, this could still play into the Republican race. Trump, with his wall-centric immigration policy, has not done much to appeal to this voter bloc.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz is currently second in the Republican race with 11 delegates. Like Trump, Cruz has struggled to appeal to Hispanic voters. This is something of an irony, as Cruz became the first Hispanic to win a caucus or primary win he won the Iowa caucus.
Cruz is currently in a tight race for second behind Trump with Marco Rubio. The two finished two tenths of a percent apart in South Carolina, and the rhetoric from both camps has continued to intensify. This came to a head yesterday when Cruz fired his communications director, Rick Tyler, after Tyler shared a video that falsely showed Rubio disparaging the Bible. A similar instance occurred on the day of the Iowa caucus when the Cruz campaign sent out an email suggesting that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. That incident contributed to Cruz fading to third in New Hampshire. We’ll see if this latest mistake costs Cruz in Nevada.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is currently third in the Republican race with 10 delegates. Rubio finished second in South Carolina, and it looks like he’ll carry some momentum into Nevada. With Republican voters appearing to rally around Rubio, the Florida Senator stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Bush dropping out of the race. Rubio’s history on immigration policy, a matter that has caused him problems with many GOP voters, could help with Nevada’s Hispanics and Latinos. Nevada Senator Dean Heller, Nevada Representatives Mark Amodei and Crescent Hardy and former Nevada Governor Bob List have all endorsed Rubio.
All of this reads like Rubio should win Nevada, but take it with a grain of salt. Trump is still the favorite and should be treated as such until Rubio can prove otherwise.
Ohio Governor John Kasich is currently fourth in the Republican race with five delegates. Kasich polled in the single-digits in South Carolina after essentially punting on the state. Like Rubio, Kasich should also benefit from Bush dropping out.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is currently fifth in the Republican with three delegates. Carson finished last in South Carolina, but he chose to stay in the race and look on the bright side.
Carson statement for the ages!
he “received as many delegates in South Carolina as all other candidates but the winner”
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) February 21, 2016
The next stop in the primary season is the South Carolina Democratic election on Saturday.