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Why 'none of these candidates' winning in Nevada isn’t a surprise

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
The state is host to dueling contests this week - a state-run primary on Tuesday that holds largely symbolic significance and a party-run caucus two days later when delegates will be allocated - in a confusing process that has sparked criticism nationally.
A voter votes at a polling station in Las Vegas on Feb. 6. Ian Maule / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Happening this Wednesday: House Republicans fail to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas… Senate Republicans knife border security deal, declaring it dead… Appeals court rules that Trump isn’t immune in 2020 election interference case… Biden easily wins the Nevada primary… And Nikki Haley loses to “none of these candidates” in Nevada GOP primary.

But FIRST… It’s only fitting that “none of these candidates” won Tuesday night’s Nevada GOP primary — by more than 30 points.  

Fitting because of all of the confusion between that primary and Thursday’s caucuses (which actually award GOP delegates for the GOP presidential nomination).  

Fitting because of the clear majority of Republican voters who want Donald Trump to continue as the GOP’s leader, according to the most recent NBC News poll.  

Fitting because of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s already difficult delegate math and her difficult path to the GOP nomination. 

And fitting because of the seemingly inevitable general election between Trump and President Joe Biden that a supermajority of American voters say they don’t want

We are now just a few contests into the 2024 primary calendar, and we’ve now seen subzero temperatures (in Iowa), a victorious write-in campaign (in New Hampshire) and now “none of the above” winning a primary (in Nevada) — which, by the way, didn’t even count.  

That pretty much sums up the start of this election year, doesn’t it?  

Headline of the day

The number of the day is … 214

That’ the number of House members, all Republicans, who voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a vote that failed late Tuesday afternoon. Three Republicans — Colorado’s Ken Buck, California’s Tom McClintock and Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher — voted with the Democrats against Mayorkas’ impeachment on the merits (a fourth in leadership voted no as a parliamentary tool).  

The vote came against the backdrop of the bipartisan Senate border bill’s implosion, which Republicans now say has no chance of winning enough GOP votes.  

Eyes on November: Biden continues march to the nomination

Biden continued his march to the Democratic presidential nomination, overwhelmingly winning the Nevada primary NBC’s Decision Desk projected Tuesday night (Biden has almost 90% of the votes counted as of Wednesday morning). Author Marianne Williamson was also on the ballot, but Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips launched his campaign too late to qualify for Nevada’s ballot. 

But Biden could face some Democratic angst in future contests. On Tuesday, activists in Michigan angry with Biden’s support for Israel launched an effort to encourage Democrats to select “uncommitted” in the state’s primary on Feb. 27, NBC’s Jillian Frankel reports from Dearborn, Mich. 

Biden, though, has been focused on the general election in Michigan as he gears up for a potential rematch with Trump. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez and Fallon Gallagher report from Detroit that the president’s campaign is working to keep suburban women in his coalition after they helped propel him to victory in 2020.  

Biden has also been focused on ramping up his fundraising, setting the date for a fundraiser with Biden and former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, per NBC’s Carol E. Lee, Monica Alba and Jonathan Allen.

In other campaign news … 

Coming soon: Special counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified documents is expected to be made public “in the coming days,” write NBC’s Ken Dilanian, Monica Alba, Carol E. Lee and Megan Lebowitz, which also signals that Biden will not face criminal charges.  

Days numbered? Speculation continues to mount about Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s future, as Trump is weighing his options for his expected takeover of the committee, assuming he wins the party’s nomination. 

Not immune: Trump can be prosecuted for crimes he allegedly committed in the aftermath of the 2020 election, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday, tossing out the former president’s claim that should be immune from prosecution. 

Keep calm and carry on: Haley’s South Carolina supporters are pressing her to keep up her campaign against Trump even as the odds remain slim, NBC’s Allan Smith reports from Hilton Head.  

Demographics are destiny: NBC’s Scott Bland and Joe Murphy explore how new data shows that Haley has cornered the market among wealthy and well-educated Republican donors, an important but smaller slice of the GOP electorate.  

Hoosier candidates on the ballot? Politico explains “why Trump is fixated on Indiana” and the GOP primary there, where he pre-emptively declared Haley ineligible for the ballot when her campaign says that’s not true. 

Christie speaks: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told ABC News that he is not ruling out a run for president as an independent, but he “would need to see a path to 270” electoral votes. 

Spam risk: Last month, a robocall that appeared to be AI-generated and impersonated Biden targeted New Hampshire voters, and the state’s attorney general said Tuesday he’s found the source of the call. 

Cowboy up: Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., hasn’t launched a Senate campaign yet, but the potential GOP primary is already proving to be divisive, NBC’s Henry Gomez reports.

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world

The House rejected a standalone measure providing aid to Israel on Tuesday, falling short of the two-thirds threshold needed to pass. 

NBC’s Courtney Kube and Rich Schapiro report from a warship in the Red Sea on how naval officers have just seconds to take down an incoming missile or drone. 

Retired Gen. Jim Mattis had been on the United Arab Emirates’ payroll as a military adviser before he took over as secretary of defense, per the Washington Post.