Former President Donald J. Trump.
In a decisive victory, former President Donald J. Trump captured the majority vote in the Virgin Islands caucus on Thursday, securing the territory's delegates for the 2024 Republican National Convention. The caucus was the third in all of the U.S., using ranked-choice voting.
Gordon Ackley, chairman of the Republican Party in the Virgin Islands, highlighted the importance of the caucus, stating, “Based on the results, the Virgin Islands has put Donald Trump on track to become the presumptive Republican nominee.” Trump garnered 73.98 percent of the vote, outpacing former Ambassador Nikki Haley, who received 26.02 percent. Other candidates on the ballot included former Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Perry Johnson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
The ranked-choice voting system allowed voters to rank candidates, ensuring their vote counted towards a backup choice if their first choice withdrew. Notably, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum had withdrawn after qualifying for the ballot.
The Virgin Islands is set to send nine delegates and six alternates to the national convention.
The caucus saw active competition among candidates, with Haley, Trump, and DeSantis making efforts to engage Virgin Islands voters. The Jeffrey Epstein scandal's local impact on the presidential campaign was noted, with DeSantis visiting St. Thomas and sending surrogates to the islands. Haley focused on equality for U.S. territories and voting rights during her virtual appearances, while Trump’s campaign featured prominent supporters and discussions on key issues.
The caucus took place across all three islands, with voting precincts at notable locations such as the La Reine Chicken Shack on St. Croix and Bluebeard’s Castle on St. Thomas.
In internal Republican party elections, April Newland was elected as the national committeewoman, defeating Antoinette Gumbs-Hecht. John Yob secured the national committeeman position unopposed.
The evening also celebrated St. Thomas Republican Fred Vialet Jr. with the RNC Frederick Douglass Award, recognizing his lifetime of service and contributions to the Republican Party. RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel commended Vialet for his dedication and efforts to expand the party's presence in the Virgin Islands and beyond.