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Tim Scott files for Nevada presidential primary; Chris Christie opts for party-run caucus

Scott joins former Vice President Mike Pence in skipping the Nevada GOP-run caucus, which will feature former President Donald Trump.
Sean Golonka
Sean Golonka
Election 2024

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) filed Friday to run in Nevada’s presidential primary this February, becoming the second major Republican candidate to skip out on the Nevada GOP’s party-run caucus.

Other top Republican candidates, most notably former President Donald Trump, are instead running in the caucus, which the Nevada Republican Party has opted to hold as an alternative to the state-run primary mandated by a 2021 state law. The party is barring candidates running in the primary from participating in the caucus. 

The Nevada GOP plans to use the results of the caucus to allocate delegates for the Republican nominating convention, meaning Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence, who also filed to run in the primary, will be ineligible to win delegates. 

However, some longshot candidates are still eschewing the state-run primary in favor of the caucus. Hours later on Friday, the state Republican Party announced that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — an outspoken Trump critic — had opted to file for the caucus, becoming the fourth major candidate to do so. 

Despite skipping out on an opportunity to win delegates, running in the primary could provide Scott, Pence and other candidates with an opportunity to win a statewide presidential nominating contest that does not include Trump on the ballot.

The contests — which will occur just days apart, with the primary held Feb. 6 and the caucus held Feb. 8 — have sparked confusion among Republican voters. The divide between them has been further sharpened by the decisions of big-name GOP candidates, who will be split between the two ballots.

Among those polling at about 1 percent or more, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, candidates in first place (Trump), third (biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy), sixth (Christie) and eighth (North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum) have filed for the caucus. The candidates in fifth place (Pence) and seventh (Scott) in polling have filed for the primary.

The candidates polling in second place (Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis) and fourth (former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley) have not yet filed for either.

Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting DeSantis, has accused the Nevada GOP of attempting to rig the rules of the caucus to favor Trump.

Find the complete list of candidates who have filed for each presidential nominating contest, including the Democratic primary, here. Read more about the presidential primaries and caucus here.

Reporter Jacob Solis contributed to this report.

Update: 10/13/23 at 3:35 p.m. — This article was updated to include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's filing in the party-run Republican presidential caucus on Friday afternoon.


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