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Lombardo to caucus for Trump, vote “none of the above” in state-run primary

The Republican governor was endorsed by Trump in his gubernatorial bid in 2022, but had opted to stay out of the 2024 presidential race until now.
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2024

Gov. Joe Lombardo told The Nevada Independent on Thursday that he plans to caucus for former President Donald Trump and will vote “none of the above” in the state-run primary.

Lombardo made the comments in an 8-minute interview less than a month before Nevada’s Republican presidential primary and a separate Republican caucus two days later, saying that he planned to participate in both contests to maintain his voting record with the state, and so he could caucus for Trump.

“I believe [under President Donald Trump] the economic picture was better, more predictable, more stable. And then if you look at foreign affairs, [it was] more predictable and more stable,” Lombardo said. “I think he has the ability to move us out of the doldrums associated with President [Joe] Biden.”

Trump had endorsed Lombardo in his 2022 bid for governor, giving the former Clark County sheriff a leg up ahead of the state’s Republican primary. But Lombardo had opted to stay out of the 2024 presidential race, saying multiple times in the last year that he was “not getting engaged” in the race.

Asked why he was publicizing who he is voting for now, Lombardo said that for “all practical purposes … the race is over,” and out of the pool of available candidates, he believes that Trump is the best one. 

Though Lombardo in September expressed some hesitation in voting for Trump amid four criminal indictments, including two in federal court, he said that since those indictments, the public has “learned a lot more” about the pending cases associated with Trump.

“I feel comfortable, and my belief [is] you're innocent until proven guilty,” Lombardo said. “And I think he is well situated to be successful moving forward on that case.”

Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony, a Republican, also issued a statement Thursday endorsing Trump, saying he would caucus for the former president and vote “none of these” in the state-run primary.

“I encourage all voters to do the same and take the next step to returning our great country to stability and prosperity,” he said.

In October, Lombardo called the concurrent state-run primary and caucus “confusing” and “unacceptable.” He said Thursday that he stands by that statement and wishes there was just one option for voters. The Nevada Republican Party adopted rules prohibiting candidates from filing for both the primary and caucus, leading to some confusion among Republican voters who have received mail ballots that do not list the former president or other top Republican contenders.

“I'm receiving phone calls from people that I respect in the community and have an understanding of the political world and news in general,” Lombardo said. “They're still confused that Trump and [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis are not [included in] the primary ballot …it's a convolution of information that has been brought forward in a short period of time.”

Lombardo said he is still determining where he will caucus.

This story was updated on 1/18/2024 at 1:18 p.m. to include an endorsement from Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony.


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