Former President Donald Trump has won the Republican caucuses in the U.S. Virgin Islands, NBC News projects, continuing his dominant march toward the GOP presidential nomination.
The victory is Trump’s third in as many contests — following the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary — and it deals another loss to his last well-known challenger, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Trump is expected to net all four delegates that the Republican National Committee plans to allocate from the territory at this summer’s convention in Milwaukee.
Trump celebrated the news in a post to his Truth Social social media platform.
“Great news! As we are landing in Nevada, getting ready to go to Caucus, word just came that we overwhelmingly won the Virgin Islands Caucus, ALL Delegates, with almost 75% of the Vote,” he wrote. “I have just called to thank those involved. They are celebrating, and having a great time — They deserve it! This has been a very Big Day for your Favorite President, the Republican Party, and Democracy!”
U.S. Virgin Islands GOP officials have claimed that they were wrongly docked five delegates because of how early they scheduled their ranked-choice, winner-take-all contest. But unless a vote at the convention changes things, the party will recognize only four delegates from the islands.
National party rules limit the ability of states and territories to run winner-take-all contests before mid-March. But party leaders in the U.S. Virgin Islands were eager to be at the front of the pack and worked hard to drum up publicity, even though Nevada’s GOP caucuses later Thursday have drawn more attention.
“Going third-in-the-nation with an unrigged caucus using ranked-choice voting has given every candidate a fair and equal playing field and resulted in unprecedented attention for the Virgin Islands,” U.S. Virgin Islands GOP Chairman Gordon Ackley said Thursday morning in a statement previewing the caucuses. “The Virgin Islands will decide the trajectory of the Republican nomination.”
Unlike the first two contests, in which polling showed Trump significantly ahead, the outcome of the Virgin Islands caucuses was more uncertain.
Neither Trump nor Haley campaigned in the Virgin Islands, though Haley made several virtual appearances by video in the days and weeks leading up to the caucuses. Trump, who cut a video for voters there Thursday, deployed Republican surrogates to the islands, including Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida and Wesley Hunt of Texas.