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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Mathieu

The Republican Caucuses and Primaries So Far


Throughout the country, Republicans have consistently voted to nominate Donald Trump as the Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)


On January 15, the first Republican Primary in Iowa marked the official start of the 2024 election cycle. Since then, seven states and territories have held their primaries—each allocating delegates to a candidate until one has the majority and is declared the nominee. While Donald Trump and Nikki Haley are both still in the race, Trump has almost five times as many delegates as Haley, leading many to believe he will win the nomination.


Outcomes Until Now


So far, Republican caucuses have been completed in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, the Virgin Islands, and South Carolina, and they have begun in Wyoming and Michigan. Trump has won a total of 122 delegates while Haley currently has 24. While Trump has won all of these primaries, each state has different electoral processes and a win in each state represents something slightly different to people analyzing them

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The first caucus in the Republican election cycle was in Iowa. Historically, the Iowa caucus is viewed as one of the most important early elections because it gives parties a clear view of the overall thoughts of voters. While the caucus is rarely accurate in predicting the nominee, it acts as a starting point to weed out less popular candidates. This year, both Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson withdrew from the race after a poor showing. Trump accumulated twenty delegates, followed by DeSantis, Haley, and Ramaswamy winning nine, eight, and three respectively. The New Hampshire primary began on January 2, less than ten days later.  This election is unique because undeclared voters can choose to vote in either party’s primary. Nearly half of the people who voted for the Republican party were undeclared, showing a clear push for Trump even among moderate voters. The big surprise in this primary was the sudden suspension of Ron DeSantis’s campaign a day before the election. Once his team believed he could not win, he decided it would be best to cut his losses and drop out of the election early. This has left just two candidates, with Trump winning thirteen delegates and Haley winning nine.


At the beginning of February, the next section of primaries began with Nevada and the Virgin Islands. Nevada’s caucus was special because Nikki Haley did not participate in it. Trump was on the caucus ballot which allowed him to win the full twenty-six delegates from the state while Haley was on the state primary. This lack of competition made the often intriguing Nevada caucus simply a throw-away election, confirming the lead of the former president. The Virgin Islands caucus was unique because rank-choice voting was used. While the territory can only award four delegates, the voters can select five candidates and rank them. This was meant to ensure that there is no throwaway vote and every person’s voice matters. In this caucus, Trump won seventy-four percent of the vote while Haley won twenty-six, and Trump got all four of the delegates in the winner-takes-all-all policy.


On February 24, one of the most anticipated primaries so far took place in South Carolina. As Nikki Haley’s home state, many were curious to see if Haley could win among her ex-constituents. Haley had trailed behind Trump in caucuses around the country, but her supporters hoped this would change in South Carolina. To their dismay, Haley only won three of the state’s delegates leaving the remaining forty-seven for Trump. Following this poor showing, many expected Haley to drop out, but she decided to continue her campaign.


The most recent caucuses have been in Wyoming and Michigan. Officially, the Wyoming caucus began on February 24, the same day as the South Carolina caucus. Still, with their “caucus-convention” system, it was merely the start of meetings starting at the local level and working up to the eventual dispersing of Wyoming delegates. There will not be a single winner in the state, instead just a report from the Republican caucus of how many delegates are allocated to each candidate. Over the next month, this caucus will be based much more on conversation in the community than official data. On February 27, the Michigan caucus and primary began which, unlike Nevada, both award delegates towards the nomination. Amidst the confusion of the two competitions for delegates in the state, there is also a current attempt to remove the Republican party leader in the state by the rest of the party after they found her incompetent and unable to properly complete her role. It is still unclear how the caucus will be run in early March, depending on who is in charge of the party at the time, but the primary has awarded Trump with twelve of the delegates and Haley with the other four.


Moving Forward


Starting March 2, more caucuses will take place, making the leader much more clear. Each state holds its policies dictating how the caucus will be run and as time goes on, more demographics within the Republican party will be shown. So far, Democrats have remained somewhat neutral about the primary results, debating which candidate would be easier to beat in the November election. Some believe that Haley’s lack of a base could create fewer votes and therefore an easier competitor, but others think that the more extreme nature of Trump’s base would dissuade centrist voters. Either way, the caucuses will lead to the Republican convention in July where an official nominee will be decided. 


With only seven primaries in progress and over 1,000 delegates still needed by either candidate to win the nomination, the nomination is not secure for either candidate yet. That being said, the common agreement so far is that unless Haley finds a way to attract more voters, the next five months of campaigning will not be worth the money and time required. The next few months will reveal who the nominee will be in November, representing the choices of people around the nation. 

 

Sources & Further Reading

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-iowa-caucus-important/

https://www.npr.org/live-updates/iowa-caucus-results

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2024/01/23/us/elections/results-new-hampshire-republican-primary.html

https://apnews.com/article/how-why-new-hampshire-voted-primary-election-6768e1ae04ce2b88d64773a9672d04d8

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/nevada-primary-caucuses-republican-trump-haley-rcna136097

https://apnews.com/article/nevada-republican-presidential-caucus-trump-haley-0fe1ce819c38b6e70f4e4ddc899a5b84

https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/08/politics/nevada-republican-caucuses-virgin-islands-trump/index.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ranked-choice-voting-presidential-primary-politics/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/02/22/south-carolina-republican-primary-election-trump-haley/72696544007/

https://www.cnn.com/election/2024/primaries-and-caucuses/results/south-carolina/republican-presidential-primary

https://apnews.com/article/ron-desantis-250c8ed4b49843350e258f0c2754c8ba

https://apnews.com/article/wyoming-republican-presidential-conventions-delegates-how-it-works-e795d8ac9ac70782424cfa18d1d572b8

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/live-blog/michigan-primary-live-updates-rcna139696

https://news.yahoo.com/why-michigan-is-having-both-a-republican-primary-and-a-caucus-this-week-213311667.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAANy_ve51mKVtricwT70TLv0CoSYttXnxqxRIbPYZ3qzxRDNZN77akDp4LzIU35oZ-qkdBLuoK47utlOcznZ5HZfKqYfIdk6smQcwtqx_Zym2sn_6aXTbcluYu2w5_PBD3X4plwFrJBuSkzKymYJeApKtM5LotGRxFPYaGEHMw9GX

https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/michigan-republican-primary-trump-haley/index.html


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