President Trump defeated Nikki Haley by a landslide in the U.S. Virgin Islands GOP caucus.

Trump won the contest with approximately 74% of the vote, whereas Haley garnered 26%.

“I want to thank you all. We had a tremendous victory,” Trump said via phone to those who met in St. Thomas to hear the results.

“We expected to win, but we didn’t expect to win by that much. You are incredible people I will never forget,” he added.

“Trump just crushed the caucus in the virgin islands. A big win from one of our most beautiful territories. I was happy to bring home the win,” said Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL).

From the Associated Press:

Voters in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John flocked to a variety of venues, including a rum bar, to nominate their candidate using ranked-choice voting.

“‘The weather is terrible, but we’ve had a great turnout,” said Valerie Stiles, a 71-year-old who works in retail sales and voted early on Thursday.

Stiles, who has lived 31 years on St. Croix, said many voters are angry about low wages and high inflation, adding that she was delighted the caucus was held before Super Tuesday.

“The (US) territories are overlooked a lot of the time,” she said.

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

CBS News provided more details on how the U.S. Virgin Islands used ranked-choice voting:

In a Republican presidential primary race that’s been winnowed from a dozen major candidates to just two before many states have had a chance to weigh in, some voters and state parties have argued something in the process needs to change. Dennis Lennox, executive director of the Republican Party in the U.S. Virgin Islands, hoped the USVI’s new approach — ranked choice voting — could make a difference.

“More states should absolutely have a voice in the process, and it shouldn’t just be Iowa and New Hampshire,” Lennox said. USVI’s GOP caucuses, which took place Thursday, will award four delegates.

Under this system, voters select five candidates and rank them by preference. Here’s how the votes will be counted: the candidate who receives the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and his or her supporters’ votes are distributed among the remaining top four, based on voters’ next selections. That process of elimination and redistribution is repeated until two candidates remain and then, the candidate with the most votes wins.


“We created a fair and level playing field for each and every candidate,” said Lennox. “Ranked choice voting ensures there’s no such thing as a wasted vote, there’s no such thing as a spoiler candidate.”

Even though candidates no longer in the race still appeared on the ballot, as long as voters rank a candidate who is still in the race, their selection will count.

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