By Susan Heavey and Gram Slattery
(Reuters) –Nikki HaleyThe presidential campaign on Wednesday brushed off her humiliating defeat in the Nevada primary and said the former United Nations ambassador would continue her long-running challenge to the former US president. Donald Trump.
Haley handily lost the Nevada Republican primary on Tuesday, even though she was the only candidate on the ballot. She received only 31 percent of the vote, well behind the 63 percent of votes cast for “none of these candidates,” according to Nevada election officials.
No delegates were up for grabs in the primary, making Haley’s loss more symbolic than meaningful. Trump appears poised to capture all of Nevada’s 26 delegates when the state party holds a separate caucus meeting on Thursday, further dampening Haley’s long-term prospects as a candidate.
A spokeswoman for Haley, Olivia Perez-Cubas, downplayed Haley’s defeat in Nevada, arguing that the process favored Trump.
“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play the slots, the house wins. We didn’t bother playing a game rigged for Trump,” Perez-Cubas said. “We are full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond.”
Haley focused on winning her home state of South Carolina, where she served for six years as governor. Polls, however, give Trump a sizable lead heading into the Feb. 24 primary.
Haley’s team has spent considerable energy in recent days trying to manage expectations in Nevada, where opinion polls consistently showed her trailing Trump by wide margins, even by party standards. modern republican dominated by the former president.
“We haven’t spent a dime or an ounce of energy on Nevada,” Haley’s campaign manager, Betsey Ankney, told reporters Monday.
Still, a person close to Haley, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak freely, called Nevada’s results Wednesday an “embarrassing situation.”
Haley bypassed Nevada this week and headed to California to campaign…