NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 10:56 PM
Trump has remained the front-runner in Nevada for weeks, and in the last RealClearPolitics average the most recent polling from the state before the caucuses, Trump got 39% support — well ahead of Ted Cruz, who got 23%, and Marco Rubio, who got 19%.
Amid a chaotic backdrop which included allegations of voter fraud, intimidation and not enough ballots, Donald Trump was poised Tuesday to win Nevada’s messy caucuses, a crucial victory that could help propel him to the GOP nomination.
Caucusing wasn’t set to conclude until around midnight ET, but the latest polls indicated that Trump was likely to sail to an easy victory in the Silver State.
But extraordinary problems plagued multiple caucus sites, filling the voting process with nearly as much pandemonium as the mogul’s campaign itself.
Several Nevada caucus-goers complained that people had voted multiple times, that site supervisors failed to check IDs and were wearing Trump apparel.
Several Nevada caucus-goers took to social media throughout the evening to complain that people had voted multiple times, that site supervisors failed to check IDs and were wearing Trump apparel and that multiple sites ran out of ballots.
“Man here says, ‘It’s a disaster,'” one reporter present for the havoc tweeted. No one is checking in or checking IDs. They’re handing out ballots willy-nilly. Some guy voted Trump twice.”
At one location in Las Vegas, two Trump supporters showed up sporting white hooded robes — the traditional costume worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The men, members of the New England Police Benevolent Police Association — a controversial group that endorsed Trump in December — were photographed holding signs expressing their support for the bombastic billionaire.
Many other caucus-goers complained on social media of other widespread irregularities and disorganization, including several instances of ballots that included the names of candidates who have already dropped out of the race, such as Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.
The confusion Tuesday, however, is nothing new for the state.
Many of Nevada’s past caucuses have been plagued by disorganization. In the 2012 GOP contest, only 33,000 Republicans caucused, but it still took state party officials nearly three days to tally and release results.
The Democratic Party’s caucuses in the state on Saturday were also messy, with universal reports of long lines to get into — and no accommodations for disabled voters at — caucus sites, and allegations of many improperly tallied votes.
Likely exacerbating the problems Tuesday night, though, was high voter turnout.
An official with the Nevada GOP said that 37,000 Republican voters had pre-registered by 2:00 p.m. local time, hours before the caucuses even began — a total that surpassed overall turnout in the state’s 2012 contest.
Many other caucusers complained on social media of other widespread irregularities and disorganization, including several instances of ballots that included the names of several candidates who have already dropped out of the race, such as Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Jeb Bush.
Despite the disorder, Trump appeared likely to walk away from the Silver State the far-and-away gold medal-winner.
Trump has remained the front-runner in the state for weeks, and in the last RealClearPolitics average — the most recent polling from the state before the caucuses — Trump got 39% support; that’s well ahead of Ted Cruz, who got 23%, and Marco Rubio, who got 19%.
A Trump victory would extend his current winning streak to three — the magnate won the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries — and charges his already-surging campaign with momentum heading into Super Tuesday on March 1, when GOP voters in 12 states and American Samoa will head to the polls.
Trump has already amassed 67 delegates, excluding ones to be awarded after Nevada, compared to 11 for Cruz and 10 for Rubio.
To win the GOP nomination, a candidate must secure 1,237 delegates.