A Remarkable Win
Donald Trump has yet again emerged triumphantly from a Republican caucus held in the U.S. Virgin Islands, despite officials choosing to disregard several party regulations. To make matters worse (or better for Trump), the contest was held earlier than permitted.
This caucus marks the third Republican contest this election season where valuable delegates were at stake. Trump dominated the competition with an astounding 73.98% of the votes, leaving Nikki Haley with a mere 26.02%.
Words of Gratitude
Via a phone call, Trump expressed his gratitude to those who eagerly awaited the results in St. Thomas. "I want to thank you all. We had a tremendous victory," he said in brief remarks, adding, "We expected to win, but we didn't expect to win by that much. You are incredible people I will never forget."
A Unique Voting Experience
Voters from St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John eagerly gathered at various venues, including a rum bar, to engage in ranked-choice voting and nominate their preferred candidate.
Despite the terrible weather conditions, Valerie Stiles, a 71-year-old retail sales worker who has lived on St. Croix for 31 years, noted the remarkable turnout. Stiles emphasized that many voters harbor frustration towards low wages and high inflation. Additionally, she expressed delight that the caucus took place before Super Tuesday. "The (US) territories are overlooked a lot of the time," Stiles added.
Candidates on the Ballot
Trump faced competition from Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Perry Johnson, and Vivek Ramaswamy in Thursday's ballot. However, only Trump and Haley remain in the running.
Having already secured two other victories in the Republican presidential race, Trump stands alone as the sole major candidate appearing on Nevada's GOP caucuses ballot on Thursday.
Republican Party Officials Hold Early Contest in U.S. Virgin Islands
Republican party officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands have made the decision to hold their contest early in order to ensure that the U.S. territory has a significant role in the nomination of a candidate for the upcoming presidential election.
According to Gordon Ackley, chairman of the Republican Party in the Virgin Islands, it was essential to give a voice and vote to the voters in the Virgin Islands as they do not have the opportunity to vote for the president in the general election. He stated, "Every state and every territory should strive to make themselves and their voters as relevant as possible. It is illogical that only a few states have control over the election calendar."
The rules of the GOP specify that only Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina can hold primaries or caucuses before March 1st. Additionally, any contest held before March 15th must allocate delegates proportionally. However, the U.S. Virgin Islands used ranked-choice voting instead.
Ackley clarified that the Virgin Islands did not break any rules. They simply took advantage of an existing rule in the national Republican regulations which allows them to allocate their nine delegates proportionally, except if a winning candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.
The officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands plan to send nine delegates and six alternates to the Republican National Convention, which will take place in Wisconsin in July. However, the Republican National Committee has stated that only four delegates will be allocated to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
If the U.S. Virgin Islands insists on sending nine delegates, they will have to appear before the conventions committee on credentials and await a report that will determine who gets seated at the entire convention.
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