The Corner

Negligent in Nevada?

Reports from Nevada tonight have indicated potential administrative failures at caucus locations around the state, which threaten to further marginalize its role in the Republican nominating process. 

The most damning allegations are that precinct officials failed to properly certify voters, and that because of it some participants were voting twice.

There also is outrage over the fact that at one location, a precinct official was wearing pro-Donald Trump gear.

It’s important to note that caucuses, unlike primaries, are party-run affairs without governmental oversight. They are administered by the state party and the Republican National Committee, neither of which enforce a dress-code for local officials. So while it may be unprofessional for a vote-counter at a caucus site to wear Trump garb, it’s not in violation of any rules or laws.

The other allegations, however, are significant — and sufficiently widespread that campaigns could challenge the validity of certain precinct results. These observations, shared on social media by caucus participants, campaign representatives, and a number of respected national reporters on the scene, are hugely problematic for a state party that was already in danger of losing its special “carve-out” status on the primary calendar. 

Even if nothing comes of a potential challenge to the results in Nevada, the outcome of the caucuses is likely to be accompanied by an asterisk for many in the media and the national party.

Asked for comment on the controversy unfolding in Nevada, an RNC official referred to a tweet from the state party:

Ironically, the Nevada GOP is widely viewed by RNC officials as their most dysfunctional and incompetent state party. It’s a major reason why Reince Priebus’s committee was already determined — before Tuesday’s chaos — to strip Nevada of its early-state status in 2020 and beyond, as I reported last month:

It’s a foregone conclusion inside the RNC that Nevada will lose the No. 4 spot barring miraculous turnout in its February 23 caucuses. The Silver State, which has been plagued by poor showings in recent cycles — the state party was embarrassed when fewer than 33,000 people showed up to caucus in 2012 — will probably be replaced by either Arizona or Colorado, which GOP leaders say have stable party infrastructures to go with their similarly diverse populations.

Whatever chance Nevada had of holding onto its privileged position on the GOP primary calendar likely went out the window Tuesday night.


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