February 28, 2024

By DÁNICA COTO (Related Press)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Donald Trump amassed one other win at a Republican caucus held Thursday within the U.S. Virgin Islands, the place officers flouted a number of GOP social gathering guidelines, together with holding the competition sooner than allowed.

The caucus is the third Republican contest held this election season with delegates at stake, with Trump receiving 73.98% of the votes and Nikki Haley 26.02%.

“I need to thanks all. We had an amazing victory,” Trump stated in short remarks by cellphone to those that gathered in St. Thomas to listen to the outcomes. “We anticipated to win, however we didn’t anticipate to win by that a lot. You’re unbelievable folks I’ll always remember.”

Voters in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John flocked to quite a lot of venues, together with a rum bar, to appoint their candidate utilizing ranked-choice voting.

“’The climate is horrible, however we’ve had an important turnout,” stated Valerie Stiles, a 71-year-old who works in retail gross sales and voted early on Thursday.

Stiles, who has lived 31 years on St. Croix, stated many citizens are indignant about low wages and excessive inflation, including that she was delighted the caucus was held earlier than Tremendous Tuesday.

“The (US) territories are ignored a number of the time,” she stated.

Republicans have already had three contests — in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — though the latter didn’t award any delegates and didn’t have Trump on the poll.

Becoming a member of Trump on Thursday’s poll have been Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Perry Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy, though solely Trump and Haley are nonetheless within the working.

Trump already has secured two different wins within the Republican presidential race and is the one main candidate on the poll in Nevada’s GOP caucuses on Thursday.

Republican social gathering officers within the U.S. Virgin Islands stated they opted to carry the competition early to make sure the U.S. territory performed an essential function within the nomination of a candidate.

“Because the Virgin Islands, like the opposite territories, doesn’t get to vote for president within the normal election, it was essential to make sure the voice and votes of voters … have been heard,” Gordon Ackley, chairman of the Republican Celebration within the Virgin Islands, stated in an announcement to The Related Press. “Each state and each territory ought to attempt to make itself and its voters as related as attainable. It’s absurd that the identical couple of states have a monopoly on the calendar.”

GOP guidelines state that solely Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina can maintain primaries or caucuses earlier than March 1. As well as, any contest held earlier than March 15 should award delegates proportionally, whereas the U.S. Virgin Islands did so by way of ranked-choice voting.

“The Virgin Islands didn’t break any guidelines,” Ackley stated. “We merely took benefit of an current rule within the nationwide Republican guidelines to award our 9 delegates proportionally, besides if the successful candidate wins with greater than 50% of the vote.”

Officers within the U.S. Virgin Islands stated they plan to ship 9 delegates and 6 alternates to the upcoming Republic Nationwide Conference that will probably be held in Wisconsin in July. Nevertheless, the Republican Nationwide Committee has stated the U.S. Virgin Islands has 4 delegates.

In the event that they insist on sending 9, they must seem earlier than the conventions committee on credentials and await a report that may decide who will get seated to your entire conference.

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Related Press journalist Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, D.C. contributed.