SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Donald Trump scored another victory in a Republican caucus held Thursday in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where officials flouted several Republican Party rules, including holding the contest earlier than scheduled.
The caucus is the third Republican contest held this election season with delegates at stake, with Trump receiving 73.98% of the vote and Nikki Haley 26.02%.
“I want to thank you all. We have won a resounding victory,” Trump said in a brief telephone address to those who gathered in St. Thomas to hear the results. “We expected to win, but we didn’t expect to win this much. You are incredible people that I will never forget.
Voters from St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John gathered en masse in various locations, including a rum bar, to nominate their candidate using ranked-choice voting.
“’The weather is terrible, but we had a strong turnout,’ said Valerie Stiles, a 71-year-old who works in retail and voted early Thursday.
Stiles, who has lived on St. Croix for 31 years, said many voters are angry about low wages and high inflation, adding that she is excited the caucus will be held before Super Tuesday.
“(U.S.) territories are often overlooked,” she said.
Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Perry Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy joined Trump in Thursday’s voting, although only Trump and Haley remain in the running.
Trump has already notched two other victories in the Republican presidential race and is the only major candidate running Thursday in the Nevada Republican caucuses.
Republican Party officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands said they chose to hold the contest early to ensure the U.S. territory plays a significant role in nominating a candidate.
“Since the Virgin Islands, like other territories, cannot vote for president…