A long line of Republicans in Pahrump wrapped from the Bob Ruud Community Center entrance to the rodeo arena to participate in the caucus last Thursday night.
After Tuesday’s Presidential Preference Primary Election, where Nikki Haley lost in the Nevada Primary to “none of the above,” it was a symbolic vote from Republicans.
Voters like Randy Settlemire, a 61-year-old Pahrump resident, cast their ballots in the primary knowing that former President Donald Trump wasn’t listed before voting. When Settlemire voted in the primary on Tuesday, he was in and out in less than a few minutes, but as he walked up to the grass field behind the community center to vote in the caucus, he considered waiting it out from the comfort of his truck before getting in line.
Residents felt that the state GOP caucus was too small of a time window for the town of Pahrump, which is by majority Republican.
Margie and Bill Moore waited 50 minutes before they were able to vote and when they got to the front it was quick. Once inside they got their precinct number where they hand filled in their ballots, among the three options, they both chose Trump to be their primary candidate.
There was also an express line that allowed seniors and people with disabilities to vote in about 10 minutes.
“There’s nothing wrong with participating in a caucus, but the way they went about it was definitely the wrong way,” said Steven Griffin, a resident of Pahrump for over 24 years. “They should’ve been doing this all day instead of two hours and opening at 5.”
Residents in Pahrump had a two-hour window to be in line to participate in the caucus or else their vote would not count toward electing their Republican candidate. It wasn’t until 2021, after Assembly Bill 126 passed in 2021 that Nevada moved to a primary election where each major political party was required to hold a primary– this year the state’s GOP did have a primary, but the Republicans added a caucus.
“You’ve got to remember, we’re dealing with political parties here and there’s no rhyme or reason to what they do,” Griffin said.
This year, many in line are expected to vote and tell their delegates to have Trump as their primary candidate in the general election.
“People are frustrated with the way things are going; they know the election was stolen in 2020,” said Louis Purdy, a volunteer who believes his ballot was stolen in Pahrump and later found. “With all this positive turnout, we may see an overwhelming support for Trump.”
And in Nevada, Trump received 99 percent of all votes in the Republican caucus, according to the Associated Press.
Haley did not participate in the caucus on Thursday, but in Nye County, she received fewer than 400 votes out of the 2,600 registered Republicans who cast ballots in the primary, in which Trump did not take part.
Joe Biden won Tuesday’s Democratic contest in Nevada. Biden and Trump are expected to have a rematch for president in the general election in November.
“I want my voice heard, I don’t like the direction the current administration is taking our country and they’re doing everything they can to demonize us,” Settlemire said. “My candidate is a businessman, and this country needs to be run like a business.”